In March 2014, Peugeot Sport confirmed its return to the Dakar, a competition that until then it had won four times between 1987 and 1990. After the announcement, which gave new impetus to the most extreme race in the world, the French brand presented in partnership with the machine for that long-awaited return: the Peugeot 2008 DKR.
Far from being simply an exercise in style, the vehicle was created as an aggressive stance dictated by the technical requirements associated with its mission. “We gave very precise instructions to the Peugeot Style Center. We supply them with the basic dimensions, as well as information related to the cabin space, the size of the wheels and the suspension travel. They also had aerodynamic data resulting from our previous simulation work, ”explained Jean-Christophe Pailler, project manager at Peugeot Sport.
For its creation, the design team of the French brand had to answer a fundamental question in relation to the transmission of the new beast: four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive? The decision effectively influenced two areas of the car's design. “We carried out an in-depth analysis of what already existed in the world of rallying and weighed the benefits of the different solutions. In the end, an approach was chosen that was very different from the competition. Given the off-road capability of the two-wheel-drive transmission and its ability to operate in sand, we opted for this solution, ”said Pailler.
These considerations had a significant knock-on effect on the work of the Peugeot stylists, but the design team enthusiastically accepted the challenge of making the new lion.
“The main difficulty was adapting the styling cues of the model to the different technical requirements imposed by the hostile terrain visited by the race,” said Giovanni Rizzo, 2008 exterior designer. “There were two ways we could have approached this. task: by adopting a 2008 standard and grafting custom parts or by drawing inspiration from the definition of the general forms of 2008 to design a car that meets the inherent requirements of its mission. Finally, we decided on the second route to produce a renewed version of 2008 ”.
The front end turned out to be a bigger challenge than expected for the design team. This is how Michaël Trouvé, Peugeot Design Manager, related: “Because good handling was required, the approach angle had to be very high. This meant a very short overhang, which in turn resulted in a front-end design that was very different from the production version. The technical team did not hesitate to listen to our arguments and agreed to relocate certain parts that could have been a problem for us. That gave us a bit of freedom to design a front end that was as close to the look of a normal car as possible. "
The 2008 DKR featured a V6 biturbo diesel engine with 2993cc, 800Nm of torque and 340hp of power. It was placed in the back, leaving the cooling system in the front.
The French Stéphane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres, after closing their stage as a motorcyclist, and the Spanish Carlos Sainz used the vehicle on the return to the Dakar. The result was not the best as Peterhansel, the best placed rider of the trio, finished 11th. However, Peugeot did not lower his arms and starting from the base of the 2008 DKR improved the car and achieved the victories in 2016 and 2017 with Peterhansel himself.[sam_pro id = 1_20 codes = ”true”]