Motorsport

Peugeot return to Dakar Rally

2014-03-26 14:10

Paris - French carmaker Peugeot are to compete in the Dakar Rally in 2015 for the first time in 25 years, race organisers announced on Wednesday.

"We welcome the return of the lion (Peugeot symbol) to the Dakar," rally director Etienne Lavigne told a press conference called to unveil the details of next year's race.

Peugeot were dominant in the gruelling rally in the late 1980s winning four times from 1987, but pulled out in 1990.

Former world rally champion Carlos Sainz and Dakar legend Stephane Peterhansel, an 11-time winner, are expected to be in Peugeot's 2015 drivers' line-up, according to a report on www.autosport.com.

Organisers commented: "Whilst the identity of its (Peugeot's) recruits and the name of the models that will take starter's orders in Buenos Aires will be unveiled in the near future, the 205s and 405s driven in Africa by Vatanen, Kankkunen or Ickx at the time of the Peugeot saga will see their heirs take their place on the Dakar 2015."

Next year's Dakar Rally will start and end in Buenos Aires covering 9 000 kilometres (5 600 miles) and passing through both Chile and Bolivia on the way, organisers announced.

In total there will be 13 stages in three countries, but the rally will not take in Peru this time for budgetary reasons.

Lavigne said one new feature would be "marathon stages in every category, for motorbikes and quads like this year but also for cars and trucks, at different times on different terrains".

The aim, he added, was "to increase the difficulty and interest in this 2015 edition".

"Car (and truck) drivers will be auto-sufficient for two days, they'll sleep in the same conditions as motorbike riders.

"They won't have any outside help, nor mechanical or logistical support.

"It'll be interesting to see the top drivers tackling these basic conditions, as the support vehicles comprise almost half the fleet."

Once again the rally will take in Chile's Atacama desert, the driest place on earth, and cross the Andes mountain range twice.

Next year's January 4-17 renewal will be the 37th staging of a race that started as the Paris-Dakar Rally and the seventh time it will be held in South America.

The Dakar Rally has been targeted in the past by environmentalists but on this issue Lavergne commented: "The environment, far from being a problem, is one of our priorities.

"The Dakar is staged where it is allowed to be staged (by the local authorities)."

Last year the rally, which involves cars and motorbikes, quads and trucks, started in Rosario in Argentina and finished in Valparaiso in Chile. Nani Roma of Spain in a Mini won the cars section and Marc Coma of Spain on a KTM won for the bikes.

Read more on:    dakar rally  |  motorsport
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