Big changes to Peu­geot Dakar car

Motor Equipment News - - NEWS -

An up­dated ver­sion of the two-wheel drive beast that made its de­but on the epic Dakar Rally in Jan­uary has been re­vealed.

This latest evo­lu­tion of the car, which is sched­uled to make its com­pet­i­tive de­but later in the year be­fore head­ing to South Amer­ica, is longer, wider, lower and more pow­er­ful than its pre­de­ces­sor: pre­sent­ing a more ag­gres­sive stance, with a raft of im­prove­ments un­der the skin as well.

The front and rear over­hangs have been re­duced, en­hanc­ing the car’s go-any­where abil­ity. This is vi­tal when it comes to tack­ling the var­ied ob­sta­cles, such as sand dunes, river beds and huge rocks, that char­ac­terise the Dakar, mak­ing it one of the last true sport­ing ad­ven­tures left on earth.

The Peu­geot 2008 DKR16 also ben­e­fits from im­proved aero­dy­nam­ics: the bon­net and roof-mounted air-in­take have been heav­ily re­vised in or­der to pro­vide more bal­anced down­force be­tween front and rear. The new air scoop also en­sures bet­ter air­flow.

Other evo­lu­tions lie un­der its car­bon skin. The sus­pen­sion has been re­designed to deal more ef­fec­tively with the dif­fer­ent and rough ter­rains. It also ben­e­fits from bet­ter weight dis­tri­bu­tion, as well as mag­ne­sium one-piece wheels for the first time, matched to lighter tyres from Miche­lin. These re­place the alu­minium two-piece wheels from last year, with the com­bi­na­tion re­sult­ing in a sig­nif­i­cant weight sav­ing.

The new car has been a con­tin­ual work in progress, with de­vel­op­ment work start­ing as soon as the orig­i­nal car crossed the fin­ish ramp in Buenos Aires just over seven months ago, at the con­clu­sion of this year’s Dakar.

Peu­geot’s engi­neers went over their “Lion” piece by piece, analysing what could be done bet­ter, with the help of its Dakar ex­perts Stéphane Peter­hansel (an 11-times win­ner), Car­los Sainz (twice world rally cham­pion and also for­mer Dakar win­ner) and Cyril Despres (a five­times Dakar win­ner on bikes).

These im­prove­ments were grad­u­ally ap­plied and as­sessed through a se­ries of tests, cul­mi­nat­ing in a one-two fin­ish for Peter­hansel and Despres on the re­cent China Silk Road Rally, us­ing an in­ter­im­spec­i­fi­ca­tion car. This was es­sen­tially the 2015 model with a num­ber of de­vel­op­ment parts for 2016 added.

There are some sur­prises un­der the bon­net as well. De­spite the air re­stric­tor, the three-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel en­gine now has more power. The drive­abil­ity of the en­gine is in­creased too, which will be par­tic­u­larly use­ful dur­ing twisty stages.

Peu­geot Sport di­rec­tor Bruno Famin, over­see­ing the fi­nal test in Morocco to sign off the latest in­car­na­tion of Peu­geot’s Dakar chal­lenger, com­mented:

“There isn’t one big change that we have made on our car: in­stead it has been a se­ries of small evo­lu­tions in dif­fer­ent ar­eas, which to­gether we hope will amount to an over­all im­prove­ment. The ar­eas we have con­cen­trated on in­clude body­work and aero­dy­nam­ics – as a re­sult of which the car looks slightly dif­fer­ent com­pared to last year – as well as en­gine and sus­pen­sion, which is all un­der the skin.

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