After their extraordinary adventure in 2013, which saw Peugeot Sport, Red Bull and Total smash the record for the celebrated Pikes Peak Hill Climb, the three have again joined forces for another challenge, the 2015 Dakar. To take on the world’s longest and toughest cross-country rally 25 years after the French car manufacturer last contested the event, the team has recruited Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres.
The Dakar will naturally be the chief focus of Peugeot’s new, multi-year programme which will also include a certain number of other events in order to help it to prepare for the annual South American marathon. The team’s driver line-up stars the 2010 Dakar victor Carlos Sainz, who brings his extensive experience and car-development skills to the table, as well as the event’s five-time winner on two wheels, Cyril Despres, who has chosen Peugeot to kick off a new career on four wheels.
Peugeot will campaign the 2008 DKR in next year’s event, 25 years after its last factory effort (and win) with the 405 T16 Grand Raid. Peugeot won the Dakar Rally four times between 1987 and 1990. The winning cars were driven by Ari Vatanen (1987, 1989, 1990) and Juha Kankkunen (1988).
“Our aim is to win the Dakar in 2015”, Peugeot’s CEO Maxime Picat has said.
Sainz said: “In motorsport, you can never take anything for granted. The level of competition on the Dakar today is very high and it’s an event that really isn’t easy to win. We won’t have much time before our first attempt, either, but I feel confident because the team is clearly extremely motivated and we will work hard to try to win.”
“I have often competed against Peugeot Sport in the past and I have known for years just how passionate it is about motorsport. I also know that when they decide on a programme, they put everything into it. I’m the same. Given how much I love the Dakar, it was too good a proposal to resist when Peugeot asked me to be part of its line-up for its comeback to this unique adventure,” Sainz said.
“When you do the Dakar on a motorbike, you can spend up to 10 hours on your own every day, so you have plenty of time to reflect on different things. In fact, the idea dawned on me during last January’s Dakar, then Peugeot and Red Bull came up with this incredible opportunity. I am very proud. I didn’t take me long to weigh up the pros and the cons! For me, it’s a dream come true and the beginning of a new life,” Despres added.
The Dakar Rally takes place in January of next year. Peugeot says more information about the car will be revealed at the Beijing motor show.