By: IOL Motoring Staff
Vélizy-Villacoublay, France - To go with its European debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Peugeot has revealed a lot more technical detail of its incredibly insectoid 2008 DKR, to be driven in the 2015 Dakar Rally by Carlos Sainz, Cyril Despres and Stéphane Peterhansel, as well as the designers' reasoning behind those decisions.
Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin explained: “When it comes to cross-country rallying, the biggest question is whether to run with four-wheel-drive or just two.
“We decided to go for two-wheel drive transmission, because it has a number of interesting benefits.”
The Dakar rules, in effect, level the playing field by compensating for the inherent advantages of all-wheel drive.
Technical project manager Jean-Christophe Pallier went on: “Two-wheel drive cars are allowed to be significantly lighter than 4x4s, and they can run bigger wheels with 37” tyres - which is a big help on uneven terrain, and allows us to minimise the front overhang for an exceptional approach angle - the 2008 DKR can practically climb a vertical wall!
“In addition, longer suspension travel - 460mm instead of 250mm - enhances its ability over dunes and rocky ground - and we can adjust the tyre pressures remotely from inside the cockpit, which could save precious minutes when we get into the dunes.”
In order to wring the maximum advantage from the rule-book, the Peugeot Sport engineers made the car as small as possible - just 4099mm long on a 2800mm wheelbase, 2033mm wide and 1912mm high.
And that includes a mid-mounted three-litre biturbo V6 diesel churning 254kW and 800Nm, a longitudinally-mounted six-speed sequential gearbox, double-wishbone suspension all round, a full-sized spare wheel and tanks for 400 litres of diesel!
“Fitting all the vital assemblies into such a small space gave us quite a headache,” admitted Pallier, “but small cars perform more comfortably over twisty rally-type stages, so this arrangement increases the potential of two-wheel drive cars in situations where the 4x4s tend to have the edge.”
If it wins, it'll be the first two-wheel drive diesel to do so; Famin admitted that was one of the reasons they chose that route.