The Silk Way Rally follows the legendary route traced by the famous Silk Road, passing through Russia, Kazakhstan and China via their capitals Moscow, Astana and Beijing. On the programme are no fewer than 16 days of racing comprising 15 stages, covering a total distance of 10,734 kilometres – 4,105km of which will be against the clock.
The major new technical addition to the Peugeot 2008 DKR is the introduction of air conditioning, which will doubtless be welcomed by the crews as they tackle the Gobi Desert! The heat is similarly a factor in Morocco, where the final testing phase is currently underway to fine-tune the set-up and development of the car, with a primary focus on the areas of shock absorption and engine management.
A new challenge for the dream team...
Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret: Having won the China Grand Rally in August, 2015 and followed it up with an extraordinary 12th career Dakar victory in January, 2016, this July, the most successful driver in world-classcross-country rallying history will attempt to tame the only such event that he has yet to conquer.
Cyril Despres/David Castera: With five Dakar motorbike wins on his impressive CV, Cyril Despres switched to cars in 2014 and has since gone on to prove that he is just as adept in four-wheeledcross-country competition. Alongside co-driver David Castera, he took the runner-up spoils in the 2015 China Grand Rally and finished seventh overall on the 2016 Dakar, meaning he will be keen to consolidate his encouraging progress.
Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: The record-breaking WRC pairing grabbed headlines on the 2016 Dakar by winning four stages en route to a ninth-placed finish on their debut in the rally that is widely regarded as the toughest in the world. With its vast desert sections, the Silk Way Rally will represent an excellent opportunity for them to continue their cross- country apprenticeship.
Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz: Having won the Silk Way Rally in 2009 and 2010 as well as the Dakar in 2010, Carlos Sainz will remain in Europe as he takes on a different challenge: the ‘Baja Aragon’, which will take place from July 20-25 in his Spanish homeland.
...in unchartered territory
The landscape of the terrain along the gruelling route is a classic test of all the obstacles traditionally associated with cross-country rallying, from steppes to mountains, alternating fast and sinuous sections, wild rivers and the giant sand dunes of the Gobi Desert. Both man and machine will need to draw upon all of their strength and skill in extreme weather conditions, but passing close to the foot of the Great Wall of China and in front of the Forbidden City before toasting a ceremonial finish in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square will surely be rich reward for their earnest efforts.
Peugeot 2008 DKR – Technical Data
- Tubular chassis
- Rear-wheel drive
- 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine
- Power/torque: 350hp/800Nm
- Six-speed sequential non-synchromesh gearbox
- Suspension travel: 450mm
- 37-inch (94cm) wheels
- Weight: 45kg/wheel x 6 = 270kg
- Tyres: Michelin
- Oil: Total Quartz
- Air conditioning system