Geko Ypres Rally 2014
19-21 june 2014
After stamping his authority on proceedings from the outset at the Geko Ypres Rally, Kevin Abbring was unfortunately unable to concretise the potential displayed by his 208 T16, run under the Peugeot Rally Academy banner. As was also the case for his Irish team-mate Craig Breen, the young Dutchman’s car dropped out-of-contention after leading for more than half of the Belgian event. Peugeot Sport will now use the summer break to analyse the causes of this double retirement – although not before celebrating the 208 R2’s top three lock-out at the weekend in the 2WD category and its one-two finish in the Junior class.
The 208 T16: 2 victories and 3 podium finishes at the year’s halfway point
Despite being forced into retirement almost simultaneously during the 14th
of the 20 stages in Flanders, Kevin Abbring and Craig Breen were able to underline the 208 T16’s pace and promise by posting a series of fastest times before mechanical trouble cut short their splendid performance.
“Just like in Greece, where Craig dominated out-of-the-blocks in our new car barely 12 weeks ago, or in the Azores, where Kevin claimed a remarkable second-place finish – and even in the case of Karl Kruuda’s WRC-2 2nd place in Sardinia and Andreucci’s win in Italy – the 208 T16 has once again showcased its outstanding potential,” reflects Peugeot Sport Director, Bruno Famin. “That said, we must not overlook the fact that the runs of the two Peugeot Rally Academy entries in Ypres were countered by regrettable problems that we recognise and will address.”
Meanwhile, both Breen and Abbring have been recipients of the Colin McRae Trophy since the beginning of the 2014 ERC.
A solid foundation, but still new
“In the light of the results that it has already achieved, the 208 T16 clearly has a very solid base, but we must not forget that it remains very new. What’s more, like other manufacturers, we find ourselves faced with a complicated equation to resolve to develop a competitive turbo-engined car whilst at the same time limiting costs in-line with the R5 regulations, whose ethos we fully support. There are also, of course, the sporting realities on the events themselves, which nobody underestimates” notes Bruno Famin.
Victory for the 208 T16 in Denmark
It goes without saying that Peugeot Sport is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to refine the performance of its new contender whilst working hard to resolve the reliability issues that have deprived it of results that seemed to be within reach. “We are pursuing our development programme whilst addressing one-by-one the teething problems that have arisen – and there haven’t been that many
” continues Bruno Famin.
“Most notably, we have encountered difficulties with the differential, which was the catalyst for Craig’s retirement from the rally on Saturday. We have been working to resolve the problem and an evolution will be ready very soon. The engine problem that eliminated Kevin Abbring was something we hadn’t come across before. Our customers benefit directly from this groundwork and we keep them informed of all new advances we make. Indeed, I would like to congratulate Christian Jensen and Freddy Pedersen on their triumph in the fourth round of the Danish Championship last weekend. Their 208 T16 is one of six that are already competing in privateer hands in Europe.”
Success for the 208 R2 in Ypres
Another source of satisfaction for Peugeot Sport was the result achieved by the R2 version of the 208 in Belgium, with a podium lock-out in the 2WD class backed up by a one-two finish in the Junior standings at the sixth round of the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship (ERC). These categories were won respectively by Belgian driver Kevin Demaerschalk and French Peugeot Rally Academy ace Stéphane Lefebvre. Lefebvre currently sits second in both of the above championships, just behind Czech Republic entrant Jan Cerny, who similarly drives a Peugeot 208 R2.
Geko Ypres Rally Result
1, F. Loix (Skoda Fabia). 2, C. Cherain (Ford Fiesta), +1m9.9s. 3, S. Wiegand (Skoda Fabia), +2m14.2s. 4, H. Kobus (Ford Fiesta), +2m32.5s. 5, L. Rossetti (Skoda Fabia), +3m44.5s. Etc.
Next ERC outing for the Peugeot Rally Academy (Breen, Abbring and Lefebvre): Barum Rally Zlin (Czech Republic), August 29-31.