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Meet the new Peugeot 208 rally car

The 208 R2 is reborn with a “substantial increase in performance”. Yes please

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This, girls and boys, is Peugeot’s new 208 rally car. It’s not a return to the World Rally Championship, alas – Citroen still gets dibs on that venture in the PSA group – rather the significantly more affordable 208 R2.

R2 rally cars cost somewhere in the region of £40,000 and allow mere mortals (albeit still with a tidy pot of cash) to go rallying. Proper rallying, too; head to any WRC event and if you wait in your bobble hat until all the big boys have blasted past, you’ll see a bunch of exuberantly driven R2 cars bouncing off their limiters and very graphically demonstrating what lift-off oversteer looks like. They’re at least as much fun to watch as the WRC cars, albeit significantly slower.

“This is a very important event for Peugeot Sport,” says Bruno Famin, “as customer competition is more than ever the key focus of our activity.” That’s a reiteration of what he told Top Gear at the Geneva motor show in March.

New R2 regulations mean the latest car must weigh 50kg more, but Famin promises us that will be overcome by a “substantial increase in performance” from its new 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo engine. Which given the old car produced around 185bhp and 140lb ft from a larger 1.6-litre four-cylinder, we can take it as read the Ford Fiesta R2 revealed last year will face a tough fight on the stages.

Not least because Peugeot Sport has form in shifting R2 cars; the outgoing 208 R2 is the most successful car in its class financially, with over 450 being sold.

Further spec details of the new 208 RS are conspicuous by their absence, with the car still under development ahead of its 2020 debut. We do know its extra power comes from a larger turbo, however, while it’ll almost certainly use a sequential gearbox and some of the fancy hydraulic bump stop-equipped suspension of its predecessor. Based fully on the latest 208 road car, the R2 now switches to a five-door layout, too. Not that there’ll be any seats behind those back doors, mind.

More info as we get it. For now, do you like the look of the 208’s motorsport transformation?

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