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Peterhansel: 'I've never gone so fast!'

2014-12-23 11:06

ALL POINTED AT THE DAKAR: The three DKR Peugeots, post-Moroccan testing, are now on their way to Argentina. Images: Peugeot

PARIS, France - With less than two weeks to to the start of the 2015 Dakar Rally Team Peugeot has completed its testing in Morocco and three 2008 cars are en route to Buenos Aires.

Testing over, 11-times Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel says: "I've never driven a faster car!'

The objective of the most recent test, in eastern Morocco, was to assess performance and durability, not only of cars but also crews, three of them: Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz and Cyril Despres/Gilles Picard.

A strong line-up indeed!


"Just as is the case on the Dakar Rally itself," Peugeot says, "you can never tell which way nature is going to turn. Some of the worst flooding seen for decades in Morocco made many roads to Erfoud – where the test was being scheduled – impassable but helped to adapt the car to the rough conditions that characterise the Dakar.

"The tougher it is, the more realistic it becomes," Peugeot said. "All three drivers now feel well prepared for the biggest challenge in motorsport. The obstacles the team tackled in Morocco included rocks, sand dunes, tight gravel tracks and flat-out terrain."

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Here's what Peterhansel had to say: “I’ve been to this place maybe 15 times but I’ve never driven here so fast. The way the suspension works on Peugeot 2008 DKR is fantastic.

“Even over the dunes, it’s amazing how much grip you have with just two-wheel drive. The car is definitely quick, although of course you never know how quick compared to everybody else. For sure, it's been born well.

"As it's two-wheel drive you need a clean driving style – not too sideways – something I was able to practise during the test.”


And Despres, the team 'rookie' and motorcycle ace on the Dakar? His comments: “I still have a lot to learn but I felt immediately felt right at home in the car. The driving technique is not so different to a bike but it’s a lot easier on your legs and knees.

"For the first time in many years I had no pain anywhere after testing before the start of a Dakar. Actually, this was the first time I'd properly realised how complicated it was to ride and navigate at the same time. Now I wonder how I used to do it because I've learned to work with my co-driver and he is always so busy!

"For me the test was all about adapting my experience from bikes to a car. In some places I would have gone quicker with the bike but in most places I was quicker with the car.”

Sainz was also able to sample a wide variety of roads in Morocco, working on the car’s set-up. He completed long loops of test roads – more than 250km at a time – to replicate the intense days that are a regular feature of life on the Dakar.


So, here are his comments: “This programme is a new challenge,” said the double World Rally champion. “Building a car for the Dakar is difficult under any circumstances but building a car that is a completely new concept is really interesting and I completely believe in it.

"Now we are beginning to understand the car, so I look forward to the start of the rally. We managed to get some good kilometres at the Morocco test in representative conditions.”

The action will get under way on January 4 and end on January 17 after 9000km through three countries.

Peugeot Sport team principal Bruno Famin added: “We’ve worked non-stop to get the three cars ready. Now that our Morocco testing is over and the cars are on the way to Argentina, we can all look forward to the start of the next part of our adventure.”

Read more on:    peugeot  |  morocco  |  south america

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