Peugeot 3008 DKR

Everything you need to know about prototypes and legendary predecessors of the Peugeot 3008 DKR.

Formula One is royal racing. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the oldest racing. What about the Paris-Dakar rally? Crazy racing? Probably. Sometimes it seems that the writers of the latest «Mad Max» drew their inspiration from them. In 2016, the 350-hp Peugeot 2008 DKR won the road of rage. The new 3008 DKR prototype, unveiled this week, has become brighter, more technologically advanced and intends to repeat the result of its predecessor.

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Let's start from afar. In 1983, Peugeot began production of the compact, affordable 205 hatchback, which boosted sales and pulled the company out of the financial crisis. Looking ahead a bit, the car was no less successful than brie and red wine: about 5.3 million cars were produced until 1998.

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It was decided to use rally wins for promotion. Then, the FIA established the legendary “Group B”, which later became famous for incredible cars and tragedies. So, the 205 Turbo 16 was born in the sports division of Peugeot.

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The hatchback was built on a light space frame and was equipped with a 1.8-liter 350-hp 16-valve (hence the number 16 in the name) turbo engine, which was installed across in place of the backseat. In combination with the all-wheel drive system and a five-speed manual transmission, the car turned out to be so “hot” that its driver Ari Vatanen, the 1981 world rally champion, was very impressed after the first ride.

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Peugeot built 200 road copies of the 205 Turbo 16 for homologation. They also had swollen wheel arches, multiple air intakes, and a turbo engine mounted at the rear. However, its power was reduced to 200 hp.

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The Peugeot Talbot Sport team finished the 1984 season without any special achievements. The championship title was won by Finnish driver Timo Salonen in 1985. His partner Ari Vatanen had a serious accident.

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The following season, Peugeot introduced an improved Evolution 2 version of the 205 Turbo 16. The car became lighter; the engine power increased to 460 hp; and a large wing appeared on the body to press the crazy hatchback to the ground. So another victory was in the bag of the team.

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In 1987, the international automobile federation closed the Group B series. The history of Peugeot and the Paris-Dakar marathon held since 1977 began from this moment.

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To participate in the Paris-Dakar rally, Peugeot's sports division had to tinker with the 205 Turbo 16. The car was lengthened, and its engine output was reduced to 380 hp. In the first year of their performance, Ari Vatanen and his colleague Bernard Giroud won the team a victory.

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Moreover, the team encountered breakdowns and slipped to the bottom of the overall standings at the very beginning of the marathon. But the fierce struggle of the Finnish racing driver, who did not become a Champion in the Group B series, bore fruit. Leaving the rivals far behind, the 205 Turbo 16 crossed the finish line first.

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By the beginning of the Paris-Dakar rally in 1988, the French prepared a new car for Ari Vatanen, namely the Peugeot 405 T16, which immediately put on the title of the race favorite. The light 400-hp car with a six-speed sequential gearbox and all-wheel drive was supposed to replace the 205 Turbo 16. A 405 T16 engine was also located in the rear.

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But the unpredictability of the marathon intervened. During one of the overnight stays, Ari's car, leading the race, was simply stolen. It was later found, but Vatanen was disqualified.

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Still, Peugeot was lucky. Another victory was brought by famous Finnish driver Juha Kankkunen, who drove the outdated but still competitive 205 T16.

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The Peugeot 405 T16 achieved success in the 1989 Dakar race. Under the control of Ari Vatanen, even though a serious accident, the car finished first.

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In 1990, Vatanen brought Peugeot a fourth consecutive Dakar victory with his 405 T16. Even a collision with a tree on one of the special stages did not prevent it.

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In addition to the Dakar rally, Ari Vatanen set a record for climbing Pikes Peak in Colorado in 1988. He drove a 20-km track with a 1.5-km altitude difference at the wheel of a 600-hp 900-kg modification of the 405 T16 in 10 minutes 47.77 seconds.

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As for the Dakar racing, Peugeot left the rally raid for a long time after the victory in 1990. It became known that Peugeot was preparing a new prototype only in 2014.

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In 2015, after a 25-year break, the team returned to thу Dakar series with the 2008 DKR prototype. The drivers were Stephane Peteransel, Cyril Despres and Carlos Sainz (the one who is the senior).

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The length of the RWD mid-engine SUV was 4,099 mm, width – 2,033 mm, height – 1,912 mm, and wheelbase — 2,800 mm. The prototype turned out to be 60 mm shorter, 204 mm wider, and 356 mm higher than the production Peugeot 2008 SUV based on which it was built.

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The car was equipped with a 400-liter fuel tank, a carbon fiver body, a performance suspension with adjustable shock absorbers and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. There were a 3.2-liter 340-hp biturbo diesel V6 and a six-speed sequential transmission.

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However, in the year of their return to the Dakar rally, the Peugeot team could not even reach the podium. Of the three cars, two reached the finish line — in 11th and 34th places. Long engineering work followed, resulting in an updated version of the 2008 DKR prototype.

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The SUV turned out to be 200 mm longer and much wider than its predecessor. The front and rear overhangs were reduced, the downforce at the front and rear was optimized by installing new aerodynamic elements, and the weight distribution along the axles was improved.

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The 2008 DKR16 received an upgraded suspension, new magnesium wheels, and lighter Michelin tires.

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The car was still equipped the same biturbo V6, the return of which was increased from 340 hp to 350 hp. The torque remained the same at 800 Nm. There was a six-speed sequential transmission. A top speed was 200 km/h.

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Numerous changes have borne fruit. The long-awaited victory for the Peugeot factory team at the 2016 Dakar rally was brought by Stephane Petransel. During the 2017 Dakar, the Peugeot team drove a new prototype, the 3008 DKR.

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The car was built around a tubular frame and was equipped with double wishbone suspension at the front and rear. In addition, the SUV received two shock absorbers and one spring on each of the wheels.

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The model exceeded its predecessor by 28 mm in length. The fuel tank, as before, was designed for 400 liters. The engine and gearbox also remained the same.

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The 2017 Dakar rally was held on January 2-14 in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.

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