Having just concluded its seventh and final test session in Morocco, Team Peugeot Total – which locked out the top three places on this year’s Dakar Rally in January – is ready and eager to tackle next year’s South American classic from January 6–20.
Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret, Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz and Cyril Despres/David Castera will all take the start with a brand-new racing lion: the Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi.
Ahead of the Peugeot ‘Dream Team’ lie 10, 000 kilometres of competition on the most difficult endurance odyssey in the world, through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. The route will take competitors through sand dunes, mountain passes and deserts via 15 stages of stunning scenery and extremes of weather. The official rally route will be confirmed by event organiser A.S.O on November 22.
While Team Peugeot Total’s crews remain unchanged for 2018, their racing cars undergo some important modifications to maximize performance, and also carry a new name: Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi. The standard architecture, based on the road-going Peugeot 3008 SUV that won the “2017 European Car of the Year” award, stays the same: two driven wheels powered by a 3.0-litre twin turbo engine. Most noticeably, the track has been widened by 10 centimetres on each side to improve stability, while detail improvements have also been made to the suspension, enhancing driveability. Peugeot Sport’s engineers and mechanics have been working hard to give the drivers the most reliable car possible for the formidable task ahead.
All 4 crews have tested the new Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi extensively, having completed more than 18, 000 kilometres during sessions in Morocco, Portugal and France. However, they are aware that the latest regulations do not favour Team Peugeot Total, with more weight added to the Peugeot while rivals have had extra weight taken off and been given more leeway in other areas too. But as always on the Dakar, the biggest challenge is the event itself.
Between them, the Peugeot crews have amassed an unprecedented total of 19 Dakar victories on bikes and cars plus an astonishing 148 stage wins on the event, making this the most successful Dakar line-up of all time. Yet despite this stunning track record, Peugeot is remaining humble about its prospects ahead of the 2018 Dakar, which marks the 40th anniversary of the event(which Peugeot has won six times in total, the first one just 30 year ago in 1987 with the Peugeot 205T16 Grand Raid) and also the 10th anniversary of the Dakar in South America.