After coming back into the sport to triumph nine months ago through Stéphane Peterhansel, Team Peugeot Total are looking to follow up with another victory in 2017 Dakar – and a brand new machine.
Peterhansel drove the 2008DKR16 to his 12th win over the daunting Dakar terrain in January with the new 3008DKR expected to challenge again in next year’s event.
Peugeot had not contested the iconic race for 25 years before the French legend piloted the 2008DKR16 to victory, so it is clear why they are keen to try again.
The new 3008DKR, which will be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October, remains loyal to Peugeot’s two-wheel drive philosophy.
Peterhansel’s victory was the first two-wheel SUV to take victory in 15 years, which goes to show that you don’t need four-wheel drive to excel over the landscape.
The new model improves on its illustrious predecessor in four main areas with better reliability, suspension and air conditioning allied with greater torque at lower revs.
Cyril Despres’ victory on four wheels in July’s Silk Way Rally also helped the designers and engineers in this aspect as the terrain is similar to the Dakar route – ranging from salt flats, to gravel roads and sand dunes.
Peugeot’s senior exterior designer Sebastien Criquet revealed, “Our new Dakar car is the most extreme expression of Peugeot’s latest SUV.
“It keeps the distinctive design language of the road car, but transports it into a rally context.”
Meanwhile team director Bruno Famin declared, “The 3008 symbolises the next step. There are also some new engine regulations for the event this year, which we obviously needed to comply with.”
Peugeot Sport had enjoyed an exciting spell of annual Dakar success from 1987 to 1990 with the 2016 win, where a Peugeot led every proper stage, their fifth overall.
Whether they can make it six in 2017 depends on how the cars and drivers can master a new, tricky route that takes in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Before the event, Carlos Sainz will test the new 3008 DKR in race mode against Despres and other Dakar competitors during Morocco’s Rally Oilibya in October.