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Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi ready for the 2018 Dakar05.01.2018

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Team PEUGEOT Total is in the blocks for the start of the 40th edition of the Dakar Rally in Lima (Peru) tomorrow, with four PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi entries for the crews of Peterhansel/Cottret, Sainz/Cruz, Loeb/Elena and Despres/Castera.

As soon as they arrived in Peru, the Team PEUGEOT Total crews took part in a final shakedown session on Thursday at the Autodromo de La Chuntana, south of the capital city, Lima. The four PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi cars all covered a few dozen kilometres to get the drivers back into the rhythm of competition and to ensure that the cars were all working properly after their long journey by air freight. Everything went without a hitch.

Following a successful shakedown, each PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi passed scrutineering smoothly on Friday before returning to parc fermé. The crews of Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (n°300), Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (n°303), Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (n°306) and Cyril Despres/David Castera (n°308) also went through all the pre-rally administrative checks. As a result, the team is now completely ready to tackle the 9,000-kilometre odyssey through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.

Before leaving Lima on Saturday morning, the competitors will drive over the start ramp. They will then drive a 241-kilometre road section leading to the shortest stage of the rally. While it’s only 31 kilometres long, this stage cannot be taken for granted. Not only will the drivers have to get through the first dunes (and the first real obstacles) safely, but also the winner of Saturday’s action will be first on the road on Sunday, because the cars will for once start in front of the bikes on leg two. This is no easy task, with plenty of off-road navigation expected.

LIVE FROM THE BIVOUAC…

Bruno FAMIN, Peugeot Sport director
“I’m not at all certain that Team PEUGEOT Total starts as the favourite on this Dakar, even though – as the current winners – our only target is victory. The changes to the regulations have shifted the goal posts somewhat. First of all, there are some very different technical rules, although we obviously knew that before setting off and we accepted the challenge. Secondly, there have been some more last-minute changes to the sporting rules, which now forbid the co-drivers to use maps: even though maps are necessary for good navigation, and good navigation forms an integral part of rally raids. Banning them effectively impedes crews who get lost – which can sometimes happen, as there’s no such thing as the perfect road book – to find their way again within the sort of time that would keep them in the fight for overall victory. This throws another random factor into the scheme of things. And that doesn’t seem to us to correspond to the spirit of sportsmanship that should prevail on an event like this.”

 

Stéphane PETERHANSEL (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°300)
“The first few days of the rally are going to be extremely demanding. The dunes are very varied in Peru, sometimes with some quite stable sand and at other times with much looser terrain. It’s often really tricky and I just hope that we stay out of more trouble than everyone else. I reckon it’s possible to pull out quite a good gap in Peru, but there are still many obstacles to overcome after then. In my opinion, this could be one of the best Dakars that has ever taken place in South America. In any case, we set off with plenty of confidence in a car that is very well-prepared, with which we have every possibility to perform strongly.”

 

Carlos SAINZ (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°303)
“It was important to check that the set-up of the cars was exactly as we had established it. The team is very disciplined, and so I found a car that felt exactly the same as when I tested it last: this is very reassuring as we prepare for the start. Thanks to this PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, I feel a bit more relaxed as we begin the rally this year. It’s now the ultimate evolution of what was already a very good car.”

 

Sébastien LOEB (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°306)
“The shakedown gave us the chance to get back in the car and adjust two or three small details. There were no particular surprises. Everything went well and I’m just looking forward to getting going now. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect: we’re going to start the rally over the sort of terrain that isn’t ideally suited to me. Having said that, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t know how to get through it. Navigation will play a very important part. The fact that maps are now banned is a worry though. Sometimes, they’re useful so that you can just reset and start off again on a proper basis. It’s going to make life more complicated.”

 

Cyril DESPRES (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°308)
“It feels fantastic to be driving the 3008DKR Maxi again. Before the shakedown, I hadn’t driven it on gravel since the start of November. It was beginning to feel like a while ago! But on the shakedown, I felt at home immediately, enjoying a good feeling with the car and full confidence. I’m delighted that we’re starting from Peru. I’ve already taken part in two Dakars there and I won on each occasion: on motorbikes a few years ago. So why not go for the hat trick? Peru is a fantastic country. The first time we raced here, I had the impression of being back in the dunes of the Sahara Desert! It’s simply magnificent. The fact that this year’s route is much more of a rally-raid than a conventional rally is a good omen for myself and David.”

05.01.2018