As Peugeot prepares for the 2015 Dakar Rally, since wining the event on its first go back in 1987, we give you a brief overview of what the Rally is all about.
Peugeot was the first car manufacture to enter the grueling rally endurance event. The race is open to amateur and professional entries, amateurs typically making up about eighty percent of the participants.
Peugeot went on to win the Dakar Rally a further three times, consecutively, with the 205 and 405 T16 Rally Raid models .
This is what you should know about this incredible event:It came about because someone got lost in a desert
The Dakar was dreamt up by motorbike racer Thierry Sabine after he got lost in the southern part of the Sahara desert on the 1977 Abidjan-Nice Rally. Realising that navigating the remote sand dunes of a desert posed drivers and bike riders with a unique challenge, he organised the inaugural event which left Paris in December 1978. It gets its name from the capital of Senegal: the rally used to run 6,200miles from Paris to Dakar. Since 2009, unrest in Africa, particularly Mauritania, means it has taken place in Argentina and Chile.
An endurance event like no other
The Dakar has been called the toughest rally in the world because it represents both a motor race and an orienteering challenge. Like other rally raids, it’s an endurance event that takes place over much tougher terrain than regular rallies. This means the vehicles have to be true off-road vehicles rather than the high performance versions of road cars that compete in rallies.
Two weeks of action
The 2015 Dakar starts in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, on 4th January over 6,000miles with some individual stages covering up to 560miles, visiting Bolvia and Chile, before the finish back in Buenos Aires on 17th January.
How many take part?
In 2014, 431 competitors started the Dakar. There were 147 cars, 174 motorbikes, 40 quad bikes and 70 trucks. Entries were made up of 51 nationalities. The highest proportion was French (17%) followed by the Dutch (13.5%) and Argentinians (12.6%). Of the 431 entries, 48% finished.
The Dakar is open to all-comers with professional drivers and manufacturer teams pitting their wits and powers of endurance against amateurs. There are four categories of vehicle: motorbikes, quad bikes, cars and trucks. All are either heavily modified or purpose-built. The car class is for vehicles weighing less than 3500kg and for trucks for vehicles that are heavier than 3500kg.
How many crew per car?
Each car has a driver and co-driver. Team Peugeot Total includes Carlos Sainz (Dakar winner), Stéphane Peterhansel (record-breaking 11 Dakar wins) and Cyril Despres (5 Dakar wins).
Navigation is done by road books/maps issued the day before and cars are constantly located by GPS.
Drivers and cars out on their own
Much of the route is off-road, covering dunes, mud, camel grass and rocks. For the past three years, the Dakar has run some Marathon Stages for bikes and quad bike racers. For 2015 all competitors will have to endure the Marathon Stages. These run over two days during which vehicle crews can’t call upon their teams to help fettle or fix their machines, sleeping in bivouacs makes it a unique event.
Tragedy, terrorists and Thatcher’s son
The Dakar hit the headlines in the UK in 1982 when the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s son Mark and his co-driver disappeared for six days. They were eventually found unharmed. The unforgiving nature of the terrain that the event covers has led to a number of fatalities over the years, including founder Thierry Sabine who died when his helicopter crashed during a sand storm in the 1986 race. In 2008 the Dakar was cancelled days before it was due to start because African organisations affiliated to the Al Qaeda terror group made a direct threat against it. It has run in South America ever since.
Peugeot will be entering their “homemade” 2008 DKR, dull details below.
Technical data – 2008 DKR:ENGINE