It seems to be official now: Peugeot is going to retire from cross-country rallies, and hence also from Dakar Rally, which was always their main event. In a recent interview to the French magazine “AUTOHebdo”, Jean-Marc Finot, sporting director of PSA Motorsport said: “We will race Dakar 2018 with Peugeot. After that, the decision of PSA group is to limit the number of sports programs to only one per manufacturer. So, we will retire… “
Peugeot has a long and amazing history in Dakar Rally, and after a long period of being absent from the “hardest rally in the world”, they returned in 2015 with an amazing line-up of drivers and with a new and very impressive car, with two-wheel drive and taking advantage of all the details included in the regulations that favoured the buggies over the normal 4×4 cars.
Peugeot was then able to grab the victory in both 2016 and 2017. After the victory in this year’s edition, however, there were some warning signs. It was rumoured (and later confirmed by some team members) that the team wanted to field only three cars in the 40th anniversary edition of the Dakar, that would have meant an end of the career of Carlos Sainz with the Lions.
Some months ago, the announced changes in regulations sounded the alarm bells in Peugeot HQ, because it was needed to re-adjust the balance between 2WD and 4WD due to the considerable advantage the buggies were gaining. This was also an important factor in Peugeot’s decision, since they were about to see the 4×4 approach the 3008DKR so much faster now, at least in theory, because is still to be seen how the cars will perform under the new rules.
The 3008DKR is about to be stopped in a workshop or museum, but there’s still an important question to be answered: what will the drivers of the team, Stephane Peterhansel, Cyril Despres, Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Loeb do now? There’s no news at all about their intentions. There aren’t too many options, and most likely not all of them will be at the start of the 2019 Dakar…