Buoyed by its most recent Dakar victory, Team Peugeot Total is preparing to embark upon a new challenge – that of taming the formidable Silk Road by competing on the Silk Way Rally, an event that traces a famously gruelling route from Moscow to Beijing. Just under a year on from the China Silk Road Rally – which saw Peugeot claim a one-two finish – and following the 2016 Dakar Rally that was won by Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret, Team Peugeot Total is preparing for more cross-country rally action in China.
- Off the back of its Dakar victory in January, Peugeot is preparing to take on another colossal challenge in the form of the legendary Moscow-to-Beijing Silk Way Rally (July 8-24, 2016).
- At the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on April 25, 2016, Maxime Picat (Peugeot Brand CEO), Li Haigang (DONGFENG PEUGEOT General Manager) and Mathieu Vennin (DONGFENG PEUGEOT Deputy General Manager), Bruno Famin (Director of Peugeot Sport) and Stéphane Peterhansel announced Team Peugeot Total’s participation in the iconic event.
- The three crews will be Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret, Cyril Despres/David Castera and Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena
For its Silk Way Rally debut, Peugeot will run three of its four crews behind the wheel of the potent PEUGEOT 2008 DKR.
- Stéphane Peterhansel – the most successful driver in world-class cross-country rallying with 12 Dakar wins to his name, as well first place in the 2015 China Silk Road Rally – will be navigated by his loyal sidekick Jean-Paul Cottret as he bids to conquer an event on which victory has so far eluded him.
- Cyril Despres – a man with five Dakar motorbike wins on his career CV – and co-driver David Castera finished second in China last year and seventh on this year’s Dakar. They will be keen to consolidate their encouraging progress.
- Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Team Peugeot Total’s newest recruits, took part in the 2015 Rallye du Maroc before stealing the show on their maiden Dakar appearance earlier this year. They will use the event to gain more cross-country rally experience in extreme conditions.
In its early years, this cross-country fixture did not venture beyond Russia’s borders, with the exception of its very first edition (2009) which briefly visited Turkmenistan. Current Team Peugeot Total driver Carlos Sainz won the event in its first two years. In 2011, Stéphane Peterhansel finished second. Following a two-year hiatus in 2014 and 2015, this year’s Silk Way Rally will visit three different countries (Russia, Kazakhstan and China) via a 10,000km route featuring 4,500 competitive kilometres divided into 15 stages. Further details of the route will be revealed over the coming weeks.
This is another extremely exciting event for us. It looks like we will have some breath-taking scenery and a challenging, varied route. We have no prior competitive experience in either Russia or Kazakhstan but we expect to find portions in China that are similar to those we visited last year. It promises to be an event that tests both our human and sporting strengths to the absolute limit, and we are delighted to be tackling the Silk Way Rally for the first time. We will approach this new challenge with all due humility and respect. That said, following our Dakar success earlier this year, it goes without saying that our sights will be set on victory.
The three Peugeot 2008 DKRs entered for the Silk Way Rally all contested the 2016 Dakar and will incorporate several evolutions aimed at overcoming issues that arose on January’s event in South America. The major change – and one of the most challenging – will be the integration of air conditioning into the cars.
2016 Dakar: 1st, Peterhansel/Cottret. 7th, Despres/Castera. 9th, Loeb/Elena.
2015 China Silk Road Rally: 1st, Peterhansel/Cottret. 2nd, Despres/Castera.
2015 Rallye du Maroc: 13th, Loeb/Elena.
2015 Dakar: 11th, Peterhansel/Cottret. 34th, Despres/Picard.
2008 silhouette on a tubular chassis
3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine (DT20)
Six-speed sequential non-synchromesh gearbox
Suspension travel: 450mm
37-inch (94cm) wheels
Weight: 45kg/wheel x 6 = 270kg
Oil: Total Quartz
With more than 406,000 vehicle sales in the country in 2015 – an increase of nearly six percent – China is PEUGEOT’s biggest market. In Beijing earlier this year (April 8), PEUGEOT unveiled its five-year Blue Upper growth plan for China. The objective is to make PEUGEOT the benchmark in the country for high-end volume manufacturers and to become one of China’s top 10 best-selling brands. To achieve these goals, the plan is founded on delivering even higher standards of:
- customer experience, in particular online,
- technology, including latest-generation driver aids and new powertrains,
- product range, with 18 new vehicles planned over the next five years, two of which are to be unveiled at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.
The PEUGEOT brand has been represented in Russia for more than 100 years. The first foreign car seen in the country arrived in 1896 and was a PEUGEOT with a two-cylinder engine that produced 3.75hp. Since then, PEUGEOT has strengthened its position in Russia. Today, the company boasts an extensive dealer network and offers a wide model range. It has also established a modern factory in Kaluga (Moscow District) which produces a version of the PEUGEOT 408 saloon adapted to meet the demands of the Russian market. This model is also available in Kazakhstan and China.
The Peugeot brand was officially launched in Kazakhstan in September, 2013, and its current model line-up consists of the following models: Peugeot 301, 508, 3008, 2008, Partner and 408. With the exception of the 408, all these models are produced at the Agromashholding plant in Kostanay. At present, Peugeot’s official dealer network in Kazakhstan is active in 11 different regions: Almaty, Astana, Karaganda, Uralsk, Shymkent, Aktau, Petropavlovsk, Kostanay, Atyrau, Kyzylorda and Taldykorgan. Sales began at the end of September, 2013, following the brand’s official launch in Kazakhstan. Today, Peugeot has established itself as a popular choice among Kazakhstanis, with a strong focus on marketing and advertising campaigns in the country that include major cultural, sporting and public events. Peugeot additionally participates in road shows and works closely not only with the French Embassy, but with other French companies, chambers of commerce and organisations, too. It also sponsors French events in Kazakhstan. These activities have helped to win over Kazakhstanis and enhance the brand’s overall image.
The hallmarks which demonstrate the brand’s commitment to its customers and which are a feature of every single PEUGEOT are a stimulating, rewarding driving experience, stylish design and uncompromising quality. Active in almost 160 countries via more than 10,000 sales outlets, PEUGEOT recorded a 4.6 percent increase in global vehicle sales in 2015 to reach 1,710,000 units. PEUGEOT promotes Motion and Emotion everywhere it operates and its ambition is to become a global high-end volume manufacturer. The brand’s history in the automobile industry dates back to 1889 and a new chapter was written earlier this year when the 2008 DKR claimed victory on the 2006 Dakar.