Tackling Dakar With Diesel And Two-Wheel Drive

Peugeot will tackle the 2015 edition of the Dakar rally with an unusual combination of diesel power and two-wheel drive.

After grabbing public attention with the new 2008 DKR, the Team Peugeot-Total has finally lifted the lid on the inner workings of this muscular beast, which will take on the 4×4 brigade on the 2015 Dakar with just two driven wheels, announced Peugeot. Dunes, mountains, dry riverbeds, canyons, furnace-like temperatures, salt deserts, rough terrain, fesh-fesh sand… These are just some of the joys that await the 2008 DKR on the next Dakar Rally.

“Much like we did at the Le Mans 24 Hours by electing to run a closed-cockpit car, we decided to adopt an innovative concept,” said Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin. “When it comes to cross-country rallying, the biggest question is whether to run with four-wheel-drive or just two. After a detailed study of the question, we decided to go for two-wheel drive transmission which presents a number of interesting benefits.”

Peugeot stated this decision will enable the team to try to become the first to win the Dakar with two-wheel drive and diesel engine.

In order to balance out the chances of the different solutions, the rules in effect compensate the inherent advantage of 4×4 vehicles by allowing two-wheel-drive machinery to benefit from certain advantages, explained the rally team, with technical project manager Jean-Christophe Pallier summarizing them:

“In motorsport, weight is counter to performance. However, in the case of cross-country rallying, two-wheel drive cars are allowed to be significantly lighter than 4x4s. They are also entitled to use bigger wheels which provide them with a certain advantage when it comes to coping with the many pitfalls associated with this type of terrain. On top of that, they allow us to minimize the front overhang. The 2008 DKR can practically climb vertical walls! And that’s not all! Longer suspension travel – 460mm instead of 250mm – enhances its ability over dunes and when soaking up uneven ground. That’s a key asset on an event like the Dakar!”

Another advantage of the larger wheel size, added Peugeot, is a system that enables the tire pressures to be adjusted remotely from inside the cockpit upon entering a zone of dunes – a tactic that could yield a gain of precious minutes!

In order to exploit these benefits fully, Peugeot Sport said its engineers put their creativity to the test to come up with an extremely compact car. With its 340 horsepower V6 twin-turbo diesel mid-rear engine, the 2008 DKR resembles a muscular feline ready to pounce and soak up obstacles.

“Fitting all of the vital assemblies into such a small space gave us quite a headache!” added Pallier. “Small cars tend to perform more comfortably over twisty WRC-type stages, so this arrangement increases the potential of two-wheel drive cars in situations where the 4x4s tend to have the edge.”