With inputs from Dakar experts like Stéphane Peterhansel (11-time Dakar champ), Carlos Sainz (a two-time world rally champion and former Dakar winner) and Cyril Despres (a five-time Dakar winner on bikes), engineers were able to precisely analyze and implement possible improvements to create the latest version of the 2008 DKR.
Peugeot gradually applied the improvements and assessed them by conducting a series of tests. The tests culminated in a one-two finish for Peterhansel and Despres on the recent China Silk Road Rally. Peterhansel and Despres piloted an interim-specification car, which basically was the 2015 model that had been fitted with several development parts for the 2016 version.
Both Peterhansel and Sainz piloted the 2008 DKR16 over several stages of its development, concluding that the new car provided greater drivability, power and traction than the original version. According to Peterhansel, a driver can feel the difference since the new car is longer and wider, and has a lower center.
He added that the new car is also more stable, which means cornering speeds are faster. Peterhansel noted that the engine is not only more powerful, but its power can be tapped even at low revs. He added that while the new car has yet to reach the maximum of its capabilities -- especially that there is a ‘problem’ on how to manage its power most effectively – its testing has been productive.
Sainz, meanwhile, focused on the development work and managed to acquire lots of experience of the new car. He remarked that the potential of the 2008 DKR16 is much bigger than it was a year ago, adding that its reliability has been solid. He noted that since the 2008 DKR16 underwent changes in several key areas, it could be called a completely new car compared to the original version.
The final test for the new 2008 DKR was done in Morocco and was overseen by Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin for signing off. Famin noted that the 2008 DKR16 was not a result of one big change but a series of small evolutions in different areas that would give rise to an overall improvement.
He disclosed that Peugeot focused on areas like bodywork, aerodynamics, engine and suspension. Famin remarked that all tests on the new 2008 DKR indicate that Peugeot is heading in the right direction. He noted that unlike works on the original 2008 DKR when everything was new to Peugeot, they are now more ready for the new 2008 DKR16.