Peugeot has announced today it will enter the 2015 Dakar rally. It brings to an end a 25-year absence from the off-road endurance race for Peugeot, which it won four times (1987, 1988 1989 and 1990).
Peugeot will enter a rally raid-spec 2008 crossover (called the 2008 DKR) in the 16-day event, which runs over 16 days, beginning on January 5, and cover a distance of 5281 miles. The Dakar will not travel to it namesake city, the capital of Senegal, as its route switched from its African homeland to South America due to terrorism fears that prompted the 2008 event to be cancelled at the eleventh hour.
The return to long distance ‘rally-raid’ events follows Peugeot’s successful attempt at the Pikes Peak hillclimb in Colorado, USA, in 2013. The then current World Rally Champion, French ace Sebastien Loeb, smashed the course record in the wild 208 T16 Pikes Peak.
Peugeot Sport has confirmed that 2010 Dakar winner and two-time WRC winner, Carlos Sainz, will join five-time motorcycle Dakar victor Cyril Despres in the team’s drive line-up for 2015.
Peugeot’s rich Dakar rally history
WRC champion Ari Vatanen won with Peugeot’s first attempt in 1987, but was unable to repeat the feat in the following year’s event when his Peugeot 405 T16 was stolen from the support area overnight.
His fellow Finn and Peugeot works driver, Juha Kankkunen, took the victory; Vatanen would reach the top step of the Dakar car class podium in 1989, and take his third (and Peugeot’s fourth) win in 1990.
Peugeot then left the Dakar to concentrate on sportscar racing, leaving Dakar duties in the hands of sister-brand Citroen – which won in 1991, again with Ari Vatanen.