French car maker Peugeot, which once had a presence in India
through the Premier group, is competing in the 2015 Dakar Rally hoping to write
a new chapter in a remarkable history at the event. Peugeot had entered the
rally in 1987 and had then become the first car manufacturer to take on the
unique challenge posed by this gruelling endurance race. It then sealed its
place in the record books by winning at its first go.
Peugeot followed that up with another three consecutive wins
with the iconic 205 and 405 T16 Rally Raid models before stopping to take on
the equally tough Le Mans 24 Hours. As a manufacturer entry, Peugeot Sport
remains unbeaten in the Dakar. For 2015, the French company is entering the Dakar
with the amazing looking 2008 DKR.
But thanks to Peugeot, here are 10 things the company has
listed for all to know about this incredible event and the company’s
participation in it.
It came about because
someone got lost in a desert
The Dakar was dreamt up by motorbike racer Thierry Sabine
after he got lost in the southern part of the Sahara desert on the 1977
Abidjan-Nice Rally. Realising that navigating the remote sand dunes of a desert
posed drivers and bike riders with a unique challenge, he organised the
inaugural event which left Paris in December 1978. The rally name has its
origin with capital of Senegal. The rally used to run 6,200miles from Paris to
Dakar. Since 2009, unrest in Africa, particularly Mauritania, led to it taking
place in Argentina and Chile.
An endurance event like no
The Dakar has been called the toughest rally in the world
because it represents both a motor race and an orienteering challenge. Like
other rally raids, it’s an endurance event that takes place over much tougher
terrain than regular rallies. This means the vehicles have to be true off-road
vehicles rather than the high performance versions of road cars that compete in
Two weeks of action
The 2015 Dakar starts in Buenos Aires, the capital of
Argentina, on 4th January over 6,000miles with some individual stages covering
up to 560miles, visiting Bolvia and Chile, before the finish back in Buenos
Aires on 17th January.
How many take part?
In 2014, 431 competitors started the Dakar. There were 147
cars, 174 motorbikes, 40 quad bikes and 70 trucks. Entries were made up of 51
nationalities. The highest proportion was French (17pc) followed by the Dutch
(13.5pc) and Argentinians (12.6pc). Of the 431 entries, 48pc finished.
The Dakar is open to all-comers with professional drivers
and manufacturer teams pitting their wits and powers of endurance against
amateurs. There are four categories of vehicle: motorbikes, quad bikes, cars
and trucks. All are either heavily modified or purpose-built. The car class is
for vehicles weighing less than 3500kg and for trucks for vehicles that are
heavier than 3500kg.
Which class is Peugeot
The Peugeot 2008 DKR is in the T1 Group for ‘Improved
Cross-Country Vehicles’. This is subdivided according to whether they’re petrol
or diesel, two or four-wheel drive. The T2 Group is made up of ‘Cross-Country
Series Production Vehicles’. These are subdivided into petrol and diesel
categories and tend to be all four-wheel drive. Peugeot has chosen to run a
turbo-diesel with two-wheel drive.
How many crew per car?
Each car has a driver and co-driver. Team Peugeot Total
includes Carlos Sainz (Dakar winner), Stéphane Peterhansel (record-breaking 11
Dakar wins) and Cyril Despres (5 Dakar wins).
Navigation is done by road books/maps issued the day before
and cars are constantly located by GPS.
Drivers and cars out on
Much of the route is off-road, covering dunes, mud, camel
grass and rocks. For the past three years, the Dakar has run some Marathon
Stages for bikes and quad bike racers. For 2015 all competitors will have to
endure the Marathon Stages. These run over two days during which vehicle crews
can’t call upon their teams to help fettle or fix their machines, sleeping in
bivouacs makes it a unique event.
How Peugeot made history
Peugeot became the first car manufacturer to compete in the
event when it entered the 1987 Paris-Dakar. It was rewarded by a win with
former world rally champion Ari Vatanen at the wheel of a 205 T16 Grand Raid.
His 1988 effort was derailed when, after 13 stages and while holding a
comfortable lead, his 405 T16 Grand Raid was stolen from a service area. The
car was returned too late and Vatanen was disqualified leaving team-mate and
fellow Finn Juha Kankkunen to win in a 205 T16 Grand Raid. Vatanen won again
for Peugeot in 1989, driving a 405 T16 Grand Raid. His third win came the
following year, despite a faulty compass and ill co-driver slowing his
Tragedy, terrorists and
The Dakar hit the headlines in the UK in 1982 when the then
prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s son Mark and his co-driver disappeared for
six days. They were eventually found unharmed. The unforgiving nature of the
terrain that the event covers has led to a number of fatalities over the years,
including founder Thierry Sabine who died when his helicopter crashed during a
sand storm in the 1986 race. In 2008 the Dakar was cancelled days before it was
due to start because African organisations affiliated to the Al Qaeda terror
group made a direct threat against it. It has run in South America ever since.
Technical data - 2008 DKR:
The 2008 DKR Peugeot vehicle had a V6 bi-turbo diesel engine
with 2993cc capacity and 24 valves. The engine produces 340hp and a peak torque
of 800Nm. The top speed of the vehicle is 200kph. It has a two-wheel drive
transmission with a longitudinally mounted six-speed manual sequential gearbox. It has double suspension and has coil springs
(two per wheel) with front and rear anti-roll bars. It has a hydraulic power
steering with disc brakes (vented) with hydraulic dual circuit, one-piece light
alloy four-piston callipers. The front and rear wheels are aluminium two-piece
wheels (17 x 8.5) fitted with Michelin 37/12.5x17 tyres. The vehicle is 4,099mm in length and has a
height of 1,912mm. It has a wheelbase of 2800mm with a fuel tank capacity of 400
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