- Heavier and wider – Peugeot’s 3008DKR Maxi.
- 2018 will be last Dakar for French automaker
- Four teams – same crews as back in 2017
MARRAKECH, Morocco – Team Peugeot Total has completed its seventh and final test session for the brand’s 2018 Dakar Rally so is, the automaker says, “ready and eager to tackle 2018’s South American classic from January 6–20”.
Peugeot entrants finished 1,2,3 in the 2017 event. The 2018 event will be the 40th ‘Dakar’ since it was first run from Paris and way back in 1992 it finished in Cape Town, South Africa.
Four Peugeot factory teams are ready to race: Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret, Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz and Cyril Despres/David Castera will all be back for the race start, each aboard a new Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi.
“Ahead of the Peugeot Dream Team,” the French company told The Corner in a media release, “lies 10 000km of competition on the most difficult endurance odyssey in the world, through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.
“The 15-stage route will go through sand dunes, mountain passes and across deserts and endure extremes of weather though the official rally route will be confirmed only on November 22.”
FOUR CREWS UNCHANGED
The four crews are unchanged from 2017 but their cars have undergone important modifications to maximise performance and have been re-badged as the Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi.
They’re based on the standard road-going Peugeot 3008 SUV that was named 2017 European Car of the Year award and have only two driven wheels powered by a three-litre twin-turbo engine.
“Most noticeably,” Peugeot says, “the track has been widened by 10 cm to improve stability and detail improvements have been made to the suspension.
“Our Sport engineers and mechanics have been working hard to give the drivers the most reliable car possible for the formidable task ahead.”
Each crew has tested their car extensively through more than 18 000km of testing in Morocco – home of the original Paris-Dakar rally that was discontinued in 2009 because of terrorist threats.
The latest regulations do not favour Team Peugeot Total: more weight added to the Peugeot while rivals have had weight taken off and been given more leeway in other areas, too.
“But as always on the Dakar,” the team said, “the biggest challenge is the event itself.”
Peugeot crews have amassed 19 Dakar victories on bikes and cars plus an 148 stage wins, making this the most successful Dakar line-up yet. Yet despite this stunning track record, Peugeot says, the team is “remaining humble” about its prospects on this the 40th anniversary of the event.
Peugeot has won six times, the first back in 1987 with the Peugeot 205T16 Grand Raid.
This will be the 10th Dakar to be raced in South America.
Bruno Famin, Peugeot’s sport director, told Carman’s Corner in a media release: “The modifications on the 3008DKR Maxi have proved effective but the Dakar remains a question mark thanks to the sheer variety of terrain and challenges to be overcome.
“This will be the last Dakar for Peugeot so we would like to finish our amazing campaign on a high note – but you can’t count on anything in advance. The most difficult thing, after winning, is to do it again.”