2016 Silk Way Rally: New horizons as team Peugeot resumes its CCR programme
Tens of thousands of spectators gathered in the centre of Moscow today to watch the 2016 Silk Way Rally’s ceremonial send-off from the Russian capital’s impressive Red Square
It was to a backdrop of the Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral that the crews of the three Peugeot 2008 DKRs entered for the 2016 Silk Way Rally formally started their first competitive outing since their successful Dakar performance in January. Along with some 130 other car/truck entrants, they face a 10, 000km trans-Asia trek across Russia, Kazakhstan and China divided into 15 legs.
Team Peugeot Total has set itself the humble objective of getting all three cars to the finish in the best position possible. Given the rally’s total length and the difficulties inherent in the terrain, to achieve that goal will call for meticulous attention to detail, especially as the rest day is scheduled well upstream of the competition’s midpoint. The second part of the event through China consequently promises to intense, demanding and potentially decisive. For the three crews and, indeed, for everyone in the team, the emphasis will be on team spirit, focus and determination.
Saturday’s programme (July 9) kicks off very early ahead of an 850km drive from the start in Moscow to the late-afternoon super-special situated two kilometres from Kazan which will determine Sunday’s start order. The teams’ service vehicles will be on the road for 11 hours to reach tomorrow’s destination!
Note: the three Peugeots can be distinguished by the colour of their Peugeot windscreen strip and competition numbers: yellow for Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (N°100), white for Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (N°102) and red for Cyril Despres / David Castera (N°104).
Bruno Famin (Team Manager, Team Peugeot Total): “Our involvement in the Silk Way Rally fits perfectly with our programme. After January’s Dakar, taking part in an event of this stature is the ideal way to promote PEUGEOT in this part of the world. The Silk Way Rally is a key event for us and we have committed the resources necessary to allow us to achieve the ambitions we have for our three cars. It promises to be a long, hard rally and the journey across China will no doubt be the biggest single challenge for the team and our cars. We will need to take care of the latter during the early part of the event ahead of the Chinese section which includes some impressive dunes.
We also face some pretty stiff opposition, with a number of drivers who have showcased their speed on other events. At Peugeot Sport, we are fortunate to have three very fast, exceptionally talented crews. Stéphane and Jean Paul are highly experienced and first competed with us in China when we did the China Silk Road Rally in 2015. Sébastien and Daniel will use the rally to gain more experience of the discipline, while Cyril and David will be a force to be reckoned with if their performance on the Dakar is anything to judge by.”
Stéphane Peterhansel: “Since the Dakar, we have continued to work on the performance of the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR thanks to an ongoing test programme which has enabled us to improve the overall package. Here we are today in Moscow with Team Peugeot Total about to start another major rally which will be a very different sort of challenge. We have never competed before in either Russia or Kazakhstan, so that will be interesting from the drivers’ and the team’s angles as we do our best to adapt to the specificities of the stages. I’m convinced we will see some interesting fights over the next two weeks. We face some tough opposition but we are hoping for a good result.”
Cyril Despres: “We are reasonably familiar with China after our participation in the China Silk Road Rally in 2015. That said, the Silk Way Rally is globally a completely new adventure. We will take the stages as they come and we expect it to be a tough couple of weeks. Our aim is to reach the finish, hopefully in a top position, and also gain experience. My co-driver David and I are thrilled to be taking part in this superb rally.”
Sébastien Loeb: “The Silk Way Rally is only my third cross-country rally. It lasts two weeks, so that will give us a chance to gain more experience on what is likely to be a long, hard event. We’re competitive on the stages where you can see the road ahead of you but we’re less at ease when the route heads off road. That’s where we need to improve the most. It is very exciting to be about to start such an interesting rally with lots of driving across deserts and over dunes.”
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