No person (or rally race) should be treated like ‘a means to an end.’
But when that ultimate goal looms larger than anything else in sight, you tend to focus on the main event. All others are just prep work.
And so it is for the refreshed Peugeot 2008 DKR 2015+ racecar. That 2015+ coding is the internal tag for the heavy upgrade work done by the racing boffins at Peugeot Sport.
The DKR was our clear favorite to win the Dakar rally in 2015, but lost out to the brutally fast MINI Countryman race squad, who are shooting for their fourth (fifth?) consective outright win this January in Chile.
The 2008 DKR has the goods to win the race, but on its first year back after a 25-year hiatus, the DKR had some crashy troubles and other explode-y trubs that took it off the winning pace.
Clearly, the bones and power of the DKR are up to the task: but it is a matter of tweaking to make sure what worked for this engine at LeMans and Pikes Peak also works in far-away places.
What better road test proving ground than the longest land path in the world? The China Silk Road!
Competing hard in the rally with two trucks, the Pug team will be learning the truck’s handling and mechanical details much more thoroughly than ever before on this mega-journey.
The tweaks are not outlined yet by Peugeot, but include the new suspension and engine tunes we mentioned.
The DKR 2015+ has also swapped to Michelin tires for this year on lightweight OZ wheels. No wheelbase stretch, so the DKR is will a bit wild as it lands hard in the Morocco test photos from June 2015.
Visually, the new DKR seems to be all about extra cooling air. Much wider full-height intakes live behind the cabin doors on both sides. These could scoop up a small village and convert them to boost….
A new vent and perhaps radiator unit of some kind also appears on the roof in a way that we do not recall from the 2015 Dakar.
Peugeot DKR (Original 2015 Dakar Specifications)
Fingers crossed the DKR 2015+ makes it as far east as the dusty trail goes over the next few weeks of cruel and unusual punishment.
And here’s hoping the all-French driver crew will lift off the throttle before cooling those red-hot brakes in the Pacific! However they do it, expect this mad munchkin of a rally rocket to set the tone for a ruthless Dakar 2016 battle.
Two wishes? First, a new paintjob or race livery design. Lighter colors and painted bodywork/fenders?! The RB colors need a fresh twist somehow.
And let’s leave the 2008 badging somewhere along the way. So confusing to have a 2015 2008 2015+ model.