Matthew Jones26 March 2014

Peugeot to race in Dakar 2015

Pug returns after 25 years in a 2008. And rally legend Carlos Sainz is driving…

Peugeot to race in Dakar 2015

This wantonly ambiguous shot shows the 2008 DKR, a Peugeot that the company is using to return to the gruelling 10,000km Dakar endurance race after 25 years.

Our keen journalistic instincts tell us that the 2008 DKR will be based on the 2008 crossover, though some HIGHLY SKILLED image manipulation (turning up the brightness in Photoshop) reveals that it'll be about as 2008-y as Seb Loeb's Pikes Peak racer was 208-y.

Alas, this ropey picture of the car is all we've got so far. But we do know it's not taking any chances with drivers on the savage cross-country rally. WRC champ, Carlos Sainz, will be driving with Cyril Despres, who's new to car racing but has won the Dakar five times on a motorbike.

Sainz says: "I have already won the Dakar and I will be able to bring my own experience of the event in four-wheel and two-wheel drive cars to the table. We are ready for the challenge. But in motorsport, you can never take anything for granted. The level of competition on the Dakar today is very high and it's an event that really isn't easy to win."

Sainz should know. In order to win, Peugeot will have to beat the formidable X-Raid Mini Countryman team, which occupied all three spots on this year's podium. But Sainz is a proven campaigner and he brings with him Red Bull backing - and that has to be worth something.

All this is encouraging stuff for Peugeot's return to motorsport. Despite the gloomy news that it was leaving LMP1 endurance racing behind in 2012, it managed to pull together the staggering 208 T16 Pikes Peak racer last year, which Seb Loeb used to obliterated the hill climb record with a 8m13.878s run.

More of this please, Peugeot. And next time, how about recruiting 405 T16 GR-wielding lunatic, Ari Vatanen, for a legendary comeback?

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