Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot
dakar rally, high tech, Motoring News, motorsport, off-road racing, rally of morocco, sports cars

3008 takes over as Peugeot’s Dakar challenger

  • Bigger, better, faster for 2017 Dakar
  • Peugeot 3008 goes from road to rally
  • Nine months of preparation for French brand
Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot
Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot

PARIS, France – Team Peugeot Total and Red Bull have revealed the Peugeot 3008 DKR race car that will supersede the 2008 DKR that won the 2016 Dakar and Silk Way rallies.

The car above is the all-new successor to the famous machine with which Stéphane Peterhansel won his 12th Dakar back in January 2016 and with which biker Cyril Despres took his first win on four wheels – the July 2016 Silk Way rally.

The all-new Dakar challenger is based on an entirely new Peugeot SUV (on which The Corner has already reported) to be launched at the 2016 Paris auto show.

Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot
Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot

The rally car is the result of eight months of intensive work in Velizy, France, since the Dakar finish in Rosario, Argentina i January.

The Peugeot 3008 SUV was the inspiration for the latest evolution since the company returned to the Dakar, after 25 years, in 2015. The car, the 3008 DKR, remains loyal to Peugeot’s two-wheel drive philosophy with the brand’s first Dakar win in 15 years for a two-wheel drive car nine months ago proving that you don’t necessarily need all-wheel drive to conquer the world’s toughest landcapes.

Rally team director Bruno Famin told The Corner in a media release:
“The new 3008 symbolises the next step. Our goal with this car was to strengthen the weaker points of the existing car while capitalising on and improving its strengths.

“There are also some new regulations with which we needed to comply.”

READ THE CORNER’S coverage of the 2016 Dakar Rally

Sebastien Criquet is Peugeot’s senior exterior designer and responsible for the assertive lines of the both the 3008 DKR and its road-going sister. While the Dakar car’s dimensions and features are governed by rules laid down by the sport’s governing body, he explained, its inspiration was very clear through a number of unique design cues.

Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot
Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot

Criquet added: “Our new Dakar car is the most extreme expression so far of Peugeot’s latest SUV. It keeps the distinctive design of the road car but transports it into a rally context – a dream job for any designer.

“When you create a car you always have a competition version at the back of your mind.”

So how does the 3008 DKR improve on its predecessor? Well, in four main areas, actually:

Reliability. The previous car was durable enough to take nine stages – seven of them 1-2 finishes – ahead of winning the 2016 Dakar, the automaker said, “but in any competition machine there is always room to improve reliability”.

Peugeot Sport engineers, Criquet explained, went through every aspect of the car in fine detail to refine the package through focusing on mechanical strengths and complex electronic processes such as engine management.

Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot
Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot

“The Dakar is the toughest race in the world, taking in 10 000km at high speed and altitude, making it the ultimate reliability test for any machine.”

Driveability. Huge steps were made after the 2015 debut but, Peugeot Sport said, the car’s three-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel engine had been made even more driveable, through greater torque at lower revs, for the 2017 Dakar .

The engineers also had to to cope with the latest Dakar regulations which impose a smaller restrictor on the engine (38mm from 39mm) with a net power loss of around 15kW. That power was, however, now accessible at lower rpm, making the car easier to drive and potentially faster.

Suspension. A key element to Dakar success. It governs speed over ever-changing terrain: salt flats to World Rally-style gravel tracks, to sand dunes.

“Its suspension was one of the most impressive aspects of the 2008 DKR,” the automaker said, “but further work has been done on the 3008 DKR’s geometry and shock-absorbers in a programme that included the 15-day Silk Way rally whose terrain is similar to that of the Dakar.”

Air-conditioning. Taken for granted in road cars but that used by the 2008 DKR in Asia has been made more effective for Peugeot Sport’s latest creation.

“Crews spend as many as 12 hours a day in their car with potential cockpit temperatures in excess of 60C,” the automaker explained, “so the effect of air-conditioning on their performance cannot be underestimated.

“Even though the drivers are super-fit athletes the improved aircon should help them perform to a higher level and get more out of their car.”

Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot
Peugeot 3008 Dakar Rally car. Image: Newspress/Peugeot

Team Peugeot will be aiming for a sixth Dakar win after its most recent and after the four wins there in North Africa from 1987-90.

“The Peugeot crews have 18 Dakar wins between them,” the automaker reported, “and though it has the latest in cutting-edge technology the task ahead for the 3008 DKR will still be far from easy on the all-new route through Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.”

Carlos Sainz will test the new 3008 DKR in race mode against other Dakar competitors; Cyril Despres will also be in a Peugeot 2008 DKR for the 2016 Moroccan rally over October 3-7.

Peugeot believes the potent combination of Peugeot, Red Bull, Total, Sparco, BF Goodrich and what it says is the most successful Dakar driver line-up in the world – Stéphane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz, Sébastien Loeb and Cyril Despres – is well and truly back.

Action videos of the new car should be available soon. The Corner will do its best to bring them to you.

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