Year 4 of the Peugeot Rally Academy will mark the start of a new era for the squad as last year’s 208 Rally Cup front-runners José Suarez/Candido Carrera (Peugeot 208T16, WRC2) and Jordan Berfa/Damien Augustin (Peugeot 208R2, WRC3) face a programme of selected FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) rounds in 2016.
The first of the team’s five scheduled world class outings will be the most prestigious of the calendar, namely the Rallye Monte-Carlo which visits the Alps near Gap and the mountains that tower over the French Riviera. The 92 crews on the entry list face almost 380 competitive kilometres which promise to deliver their usual cocktail of tricky wintry conditions. In addition to the immense challenge inherent in the event itself, the 2015 208 Rally Cup victors José Suarez and Jordan Berfa face the added difficulty that this will be their first attempt at the classic fixture.
José Suarez and his co-driver Candido Carrera got their first opportunity to sample their 208T16 in typical Monte Carlo conditions at a test last week after which the Spaniard appeared quite pleased:
It’s great to be joining the Peugeot Rally Academy this season. It’s an important step in my career and I couldn’t be more fired up! Last week, we were able to test the 208T16 in snow and rain and I feel very confident with the set-up the team has found. I’ve obviously got a great deal to learn because the Monte will only be my second drive in an R5 car. There are 15 drivers on the WRC2 entry list but I’m still hoping for a good result.
Jordan Berfa will contest the event in a 208R2, a car with which he is now familiar after two campaigns in the 208 Rally Cup. He is eager to get his WRC3 programme rolling and square up to the eight other drivers entered in the WRC3 class, four of whom will be in 208R2s:
The team gave us an opportunity to get our first run on snow in the 208R2. My aim on my first event this year is to figure at the sharp end of the WRC3 standings but that will require staying out of trouble and being completely focused from start to finish, because the Monte -Carlo is a very long event and one of the toughest in the world.
Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, January 18-20: recce
Wednesday, January 20: autograph signing session
Thursday, January 21: Leg 1 (Monaco - Gap)
Friday, January 22: Leg 2 (Gap - Gap)
Saturday, January 23: Leg 3 (Gap - Monaco)
Sunday, January 24: Leg 4 (Monaco - Monaco)