Peugeot returns to Dakar with sinister 2008 DKR
By C.C. Weiss
April 19, 2014
After a record-breaking performance in the 208 T16 at last year's Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Peugeot announced a few weeks back that it would again team with Red Bull and Total, this time with its sights on next year's Dakar Rally. The announcement marks the French brand's return after a 25-year absence. This week, it shared the initial details and pictures of the off-roader it will put to the test on South American soil. The 2008 DKR is a big, brutal version of its namesake crossover, and it looks hungry for a win.
Peugeot seems very self-assured that the 2008 DKR resembles the production 2008 closely, calling the likeness "quite astonishing." From our vantage point, the DKR looks exactly how it should: a big, aggressive off-roader with a vague resemblance to the road car it's built on. Between the jacked up ride height, 37-in Michelin tires, hammerhead front end and beefy body kit, the 2008 DKR definitely distinguishes itself as the muscular jock with a bookworm older brother.
"There were two ways we could have approached this task: either by taking a standard 2008 and grafting on bespoke parts, or else by drawing inspiration from the 2008’s defining overall forms to design a car that covered the constraints inherent in its mission," comments Giovanni Rizzo, the 2008's exterior designer. "We eventually decided to go down the second path to produce a fresh take on the 2008. For example, the 2008 DKR doesn’t have rear doors, so it’s more like what a coupé version of the model might be."
The departure between production and rally car is particular drastic in the restructured front-end, with its shortened overhang and heightened approach angle. From that face back, the DKR has a tall, hulking presence that screams: purpose-built rally four-wheeler. However, it's actually a two-wheel-drive design.
"We carried out an in-depth analysis of what already existed in the world of cross-country rallying and weighed up the benefits of the different solutions," explains Peugeot Sport project leader Jean-Christophe Pailler. "In the end, we opted for an approach that was quite different to that of the competition. Given the off-road capability of two-wheel drive transmission and its ability to run on sand, that’s the choice we ultimately went for. It enabled us to fit bigger wheels and also to benefit from more suspension travel."
The DKR 2008 is a collaborative effort between Peugeot's Style Center and Peugeot Sport's design team. Peugeot is keeping the mechanicals a secret for now, but it has plenty of time to reveal more before the January 2015 event.
Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres will be the drive team. Based on their experience and the look of the DKR, we expect to be hearing some noise from Peugeot next winter.
See what happens when you cross a pair of bulls and a lion in the video below.