Peugeot won the Dakar for four consecutive years, from 1987 to 1990 with the Peugeot 205. It has now returned to racing’s ultimate test of endurance with a fascinating twist on the existing 2008 production model. The two-wheel-drive 2008 DKR was developed by Peugeot’s Style Centre and Peugeot’s Sports Design Department. It’s geared up for dunes, mountains, dry river beds, canyons, furnace-like temperatures, salt deserts, rough terrain and fesh-fesh sand (known as the talcum powder of the desert).
At the time, details of the vehicle’s engine and other vital components were kept secret, until now, as Peugeot has finally released information. The sports engineers worked tirelessly in order to create an exceptionally compact car, and the V6 twin-turbo diesel mid-rear engine produces 250kW.
The technical project manager, Jean-Christophe Pallier, noted that weight is counter to performance in motorsport and that in cross-country rallying, two-wheel-drive cars are permitted to be considerably lighter than 4x4s. They are also entitled to use bigger wheels, which create an advantage over the many drawbacks associated with the territory. The vehicle has a longer suspension by an additional 210mm, which improves its capability over dunes and uneven ground.
A larger wheel size also brings forth the advantage of a system that enables the tyre pressure to be adjusted remotely from inside the cockpit when entering a zone of dunes, which could save valuable minutes.
The French manufacturer decided the DKR derivative should share the same features as the 2008 production. The crossover is a two-wheel-drive equipped with Grip Control technology hence, the DKR is packed with identical technology.
Bruno Famin, Peugeot’s sports director, mentions the team opted for a two-wheel-drive as it presents a number of benefits as well as enabling it to try and become the first to win the Dakar with a two-wheel-drive and a diesel engine.