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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 15 años

FIA ERC – EUROPEAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2015: ERC ICE MASTER TO BE CROWNED IN LATVIA WHERE ERC JUNIOR IS GO,GO,GO!

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ERC A FULL 2015

ERC Ice Master to be crowned in Latvia where ERC Junior is go, go, go!.

AUTO - ERC JANNER RALLY 2015

EVENT PREVIEW: 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, round two of 10
Rally Liepāja, 6-8 February (Latvia)

2 February 2015

A strong 51-car entry made up of drivers from 20 countries will contest round two of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship next week, as the ice and snow-covered roads of Latvia play host to Rally Liepāja.

In addition to the six R5 and five Super 2000 cars that will be gunning for overall glory, an exciting 16-car field will begin the eagerly awaited second ERC Junior Championship. The class for drivers born on or after 1 January 1988 competing in R2 cars on Michelin tyres has struck a chord with young stars across Europe, with drivers from nine countries and cars from Citroën, Opel and Peugeot on the starting line in Latvia.

After a successful debut in 2013, this will be the third time Rally Liepāja has hosted a round of the ERC. It’s a gruelling winter rally, with daytime temperatures between -5°C and -15°C, night-time temperatures nearer -30°C, and a ferocious wind-chill thanks to the proximity of the Baltic Sea.

The itinerary will give competitors a sweat, with 12 stages totalling 205.68 kilometres in the wintry Liepāja and Kuldīga regions. After the Qualifying Stage on Friday 6 February, which will help determine the start order for leg one among the FIA and ERC priority drivers, Rally Liepāja gets underway at 09h30 the following day. The opening leg contains five stages – including two runs over Kuldïga, which at 36.97 kilometres is the longest stage of the event. After 114.13km of competition a much welcome overnight halt will prepare crews for the final day of action on Sunday 8 February, where seven more stages (totalling 91.60km) will take place. The final stage will be a new super special city stage in host city Liepāja, before the finish ceremony in nearby Rožu Square at 16h20.

Potential winners aplenty on ERC Rally Liepāja
Predicting a Rally Liepāja winner is impossible, such is the quality at the sharp end of the field. There’s no doubt that an on-form Kajetan Kajetanowicz (LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5) will be a frontrunner following his dominance on round one in Austria, where he set fastest time on all but one stage in his Pirelli-shod car. The Pole could only finish fourth in Latvia last year, however. Robert Consani proved that the Peugeot 207 S2000 is a highly competitive car in the right hands, and another podium is within his capabilities. Alexey Lukyanuk (Chervonenko Racing Fiesta R5) came from 23rd position after problems on the opening stage to finish third in Austria – a feat that earned him the first Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy of 2015 and sent a warning shot to all his rivals. Lukyanuk won the same award in Liepāja in 2013.

With the ERC Ice Master trophy also up for grabs, Craig Breen (Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16) will be keen to put his Austrian disappointment behind him and re-launch his ERC assault. Breen has finished on the podium both times in Latvia and returns searching for that illusive first win. Experienced Estonian Raul Jeets (MM-Motorsport Fiesta R5), Jarosław Koltun (C-Racing Fiesta R5), Jonathan Hirschi (208 T16), Antonín Tlusták (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) and GPD Orsák Rally Sport Fabia duo Martin Hudec and Tomáš Kurka will help make it a fascinating battle for victory.

ERC2 heats up in Latvia
Vojtěch Štajf takes a nine-point ERC2 lead into Rally Liepāja, courtesy of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI driver’s commanding victory in Austria. Krisztián Hideg had been leading the class for R4 production cars on the Jännerrallye when he crashed out. He returned under Rally 2 rules and set eight fastest stage times compared to Štajf’s nine, so the two appear evenly matched as they head to more snowy stages. Dávid Botka, lying second in ERC2, will be looking for another good run in his Mitsubishi, while former Lithuanian champion Dominykas Butvilas steps up from the Polish championship with backing from the company’s Subaru importer. Local hero Jānis Vorobjovs won this class in Latvia last year and returns aiming for back-to-back victories, as does fellow Mitsubishi driver Siim Plangi, who was excluded from the lead in 2014. Polish duo Łukasz Kabaćinski and Tomasz Kasperczyk will also be in the fight for strong class points.

Latvia-bound giant-killer Ogryzek aims high again
Sławomir Ogryzek finished an impressive 11th overall in Austria, dominating the ERC3 class for R1, R2 and R3 cars in his Peugeot 208 R2. The Pole will be looking for another class win this time to extend his early lead. Hungarian teenager Kristóf Klausz will have a great chance to move up the ERC3 leaderboard in his Renault Clio R3, as will Grzegorz Sikorski (Honda Civic Type R). Ondřej Bisaha will be keen to avoid a repeat of Austria, when two tractors had to rescue his Renault Clio R3 from a snow bank – although his speed on day two showed that he is a potential ERC3 winner. Both Aron Domzala (Citroën DS3 R3T), a former Junior WRC contender from Poland, and Russian Mikhail Skripnikov (Renault Clio R3) will be keen to get their first points on the board. All 16 ERC Junior contenders (see below) will also be eligible for ERC3 points.

ERC Junior field let loose on Latvia season-opener
A mouth-watering 16-car field will begin the ERC Junior Championship in Latvia, with a depth of young talent making it tough to pick a winner. Certainly triple Latvian R2 champion Ralfs Sirmacis will be a strong contender in his Sports Racing Technologies (SRT) Peugeot 208 R2, as will team-mate Vasily Gryazin. He finished second overall on Rally Liepāja last year driving a Ford Fiesta S2000 but switches to ERC Junior for 2015. Steve Røkland (208 R2) led ERC Junior in Latvia last year before crashing out, but the Norwegian hopes his experience of the wintry conditions will help him win this time. ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team duo Marijan Griebel (Germany) and Emil Bergkvist (Sweden) will both be strong in their Adam R2s, while double Swedish R2 champion Mattias Adielsson starts his first ERC campaign in a 208 R2.

Promising Portuguese Diogo Gago won the junior section of the 208 Rally Cup in France last year and, like 2014 ERC Junior champion Stéphane Lefebvre before him, takes up his prize drive in ERC Junior. Britain’s Chris Ingram is the youngest driver ever to win the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy (2014 Circuit of Ireland) and returns to the ERC in a Peugeot UK-backed 208 R2. Poland’s Aleks Zawada has swapped his 208 for an Opel Motorsport-supported Adam R2 and following two podiums last year hopes to be a title challenger. Countryman and Silesian regional champion Łukasz Pieniążek (208 R2) is hoping that a recent training visit to John Haugland’s world-renowned Winter Rally School in Norway will help him in Liepāja.

Rainer Rohtmets started rallying in 2007, and with almost 50 events under his belt the young Estonian driver hopes his experience will pay dividends in his Printsport-run Citroën C2R2 Max. RACB National Team driver Gino Bux makes only his 10th rally start – and his first on snow – as the young Belgian’s second season of competition starts in a Peugeot Belgium Luxembourg-entered 208 R2. Having previously rallied the likes of a Ford Fiesta R5 and Subaru Impreza, Wojciech Chuchala will drive a 208 R2 this year, while Julius Tannert enters an Opel Adam R2. Completing the list of rising stars will be Guillaume de Mevius (Belgium) and Northern Ireland’s Jon Armstrong – both will drive 208 R2s. Visit the Media Lounge section of Fiaerc.com for pre-event quotes from all ERC Junior drivers.

Latvian rallycross star set for ERC debut
Latvian rallycross sensation Reinis Nitišs will make his rally debut in Liepāja driving a Ford Fiesta R2 prepared by Latvian team Sports Racing Technologies. The 19-year-old from Jēkabpils finished third in the Supercar category of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2014, driving a World RX-spec Fiesta. His coach and co-driver will be Latvian rally champion Māris Neikšāns. “Rally has a lot of unpredictable situations and the road surface can change at any second – this will help to develop my driving skills as I adjust to the varying conditions,” says Nitišs. “My goal is to drive all the special stages in order to fully use the opportunity to learn and improve. In this rally I will not be fighting for the win, I will be in a fight with myself as there will definitely be situations that I will not have experienced before as a pilot.”

Snow debut for ERC returnee Costenaro
Giacomo Costenaro will begin his ERC campaign on Rally Liepāja – the Italian’s first event on snow. Costenaro, who is co-driven by Justin Bardini and recently celebrated his 26th birthday, will drive a Delta Rally-prepared Peugeot 207 Super 2000. “For me rallying on snow is completely new and it will be a big challenge,” he says.

ERC registrations reach half-century
More than 50 registrations have been received for the 2015 ERC and that number is set to rise based on the current level of interest from drivers and teams. There are several benefits to registering such as receiving priority status, being eligible for the round-by-round prize fund, having access to the ERC Village in service parks and an attractive media package. Visit Fiaerc.com for more details.

Privateers aim for share of 200,000 Euro prize fund in the ERC
Another 20,000 Euros will be shared between the seven most successful privateers on Rally Liepāja as part of ERC promoter Eurosport Events’ 200,000 Euros total prize fund for this year. Kajetan Kajetanowicz received the biggest cheque in Austria for 7000 Euros after securing victory and maximum ERC points to boot. To be eligible, drivers must register for the ERC, receive no manufacturer support*, use tyres from one of the three ERC partner companies (Michelin, Pirelli and Yokohama) and not compete in a Regional Rally Car. *Eurosport Events will determine privateer status in consultation with the manufacturer in question.

Advantage Kajetanowicz in ERC Ice Master
Kajetan Kajetanowicz not only leads the ERC standings following his victory on round one – he also tops the ERC Ice Master classification heading into the second and final scoring opportunity of the season. The LOTOS Rally Team ace bagged 176 points after he won all but one stage on the Internationale Jännerrallye powered by GaGa Energy earlier this month. Starting Rally Liepāja, he holds a 76-point advantage over fellow Ford Fiesta R5 driver Alexey Lukyanuk, who took one stage best in Austria and 100 points. Jaromír Tarabus scored 56 points, Robert Consani 49 points, Stéphane Lefebvre 17 points, Craig Breen 11 points, Martin Fischeriehner three points with Jonathan Hirschi and Hermann Neubauer each taking one ERC Ice Master point. Along with the ERC Asphalt Master and ERC Gravel Master awards, the ERC Ice Master recognises the performances of surface specialists competing in the ERC. Points are awarded for each stage run on a scale of 10-6-4-2-1.

Q&A: VASILY GRYAZIN
The 21-year-old rising Russian star looks ahead to his ‘home’ round of the European championship as he makes his debut in ERC Junior.

You had some great performances early last year before illness kept you out of action. Are you okay now?
“Yes, I am okay now and ready to participate in FIA ERC Junior. I am fully fit again and looking forward to the season ahead.”

After competing in a car capable of winning rallies outright, you’re now driving a Peugeot 208 R2. What has made you decide to take this step back in performance?
“The reason why I will go with a Peugeot 208 R2 is that my target this year is to win the FIA ERC Junior Championship and get the prize. My plan then is to participate in the ERC in 2016 with an R5 car. For sure this year I will do the best I can.”

You’re registered for ERC Junior. What is your schedule for the 2015 season and what is your ultimate aim?
“The schedule for this year includes many tests, so I will be in a good condition for all six rounds of the Junior championship. If it is possible, I will also participate in some local Latvian rally championship rounds too.”

Tell us about your Andros Trophy programme – what was the reason by behind taking part in that series and what has it taught you?
“Taking part in the Andros Trophy was only for experience. I enjoy driving on snow and ice, and to race on that surface was very interesting and good fun.”

And what about Rally Liepāja – what do you think about this year’s route and tell us what you need to do to be fast on the event?
“This year’s route is, like always in Liepāja, very nice and challenging. It’s very fast in places, technical in others, and you have to be precise at every moment. You cannot lose your concentration for one second, or you will be off in a snow bank. There is always good snow and ice, and the rally organisers are very experienced, so the event is well run. I really like the Latvian roads and I will do my best. Let’s see.”

FIVE ERC RALLY LIEPĀJA FACTS
1: This year marks a special anniversary for Liepāja, which became the first city in Latvia to host a rally 50 years ago. It is welcoming the ERC back for a third time.
2: Siim Plangi will no doubt have his alarm clock set when he returns to Rally Liepāja to contest the ERC2 class in a Mitsubishi Lancer. The Estonian was excluded from last year’s event ahead of leg two after oversleeping and arriving at parc fermé 15 minutes late.
3: The third largest city in Latvia, Liepāja lies on a stretch of land between the Baltic Sea and Lake Liepāja, connected by the Trade Canal. It also boasts the widest sandy beach in the country.
4: The people of Liepāja know how to have fun: apart from the ERC rally they enjoy a large Summer Sound beach party each year as well as their own festival of speed, Rally Kurzeme.
5: Given Liepāja’s location, it’s not surprising that fish is often on the menu, but other popular Latvian dishes include boiled potatoes with quark (cheese), oat and pea kissels, grey peas with salted pork fat and asins pankūkas (pancakes made from blood!).

ON THIS EVENT IN 2014…
Esapekka Lappi began what was to be a title-winning ERC campaign with victory in his ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000. The Flying Finn finished 34.7s ahead of Vasily Gryazin – whose stunning performance in his Ford Fiesta S2000 earned the young Russian the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy. Craig Breen claimed the final podium spot in his last appearance in the Peugeot Rally Academy 207 S2000, before he switched to the new 208 T16. Kajetan Kajetanowicz took fourth in his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 with Sepp Wiegand completing the top five for ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland. A damaged Citroën DS3 RRC engine forced Bryan Bouffier out of the lead, while Jaromír Tarabus crashed his Fabia S2000. Czech rising star Jan Černý made history by winning the inaugural round of the ERC Junior Championship in his Peugeot 208 R2, with Finn Risto Immonen (Citroën C2R2) and Norway’s Petter Kristiansen (ŠKODA Fabia R2) joining him on the podium. Jānis Vorobjovs came from fourth after leg one to claim victory in the FIA ERC Production Car Cup, while glamour model Inessa Tushkanova secured ERC Ladies’ Trophy honours at her first attempt. She will make her second Rally Liepāja start in 2015.

EVENT ESSENTIALS (all timings local)
Starts: 20h00, Friday 6 February, Rozu Square, Liepāja (new location for 2015)
Finishes: 16h20, Sunday 8 February, Rozu Square, Liepāja (new location for 2015)
Headquarters: Liepāja Olympic Centre, Brīvības iela 39, LV-3401 Liepāja
Service park: Zemnieku Street, Liepāja (There will be a remote service at the start of leg one at City Square, Kuldiga)
ERC appearances (since the restructuring in 2004): Two (2013, 2014)
Stages: 12
Stage distance: 205.73 kilometres (114.13 kilometres leg one, 91.60 kilometres leg two)
Liaison: 630.99 kilometres
Total: 805.90 kilometres
Surface: Snow and ice-coated gravel

MEDIA EVENTS AND INFORMATION (all timings local)
Media accreditation/media centre: Media Centre, Olympic Centre Liepāja
Opening times: 09h00-22h00, Thursday 5 and Friday 6 February; 08h00-22h00 Saturday 7 February; 07h00-22h00 Sunday 8 February
Friday 6 February
Free Practice (for priority drivers): 13h30-15h00, Grobina Parish (3.09 kilometres)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): 15h15-15h45, Grobina Parish (3.09 kilometres)
Shakedown (for non-priority drivers): 15h50-17h00, Grobina Parish (3.09 kilometres)
Shakedown (for all drivers): 17h01-18h15, Grobina Parish (3.09 kilometres)
Start order selection: 19h00, Media Centre, Olympic Centre Liepāja
Pre-rally press conference: Immediately following the start order selection
Ceremonial start: 20h00, Rozu Square, Liepāja
ERC driver/co-driver family photograph: 20h20, Rozu Square, Liepāja
Sunday 8 February
Post-event press conference: 18h00, Olympic Centre Liepāja. Top three drivers and co-drivers plus the leading ERC Junior crew in attendance
Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy presentation: Immediately following the post-event press conference, Olympic Centre Liepāja

Media FIA ERC 2015
https://www.fiaerc.com

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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 15 años

CHINESE RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (CRC 2015): PRODRIVE MOTORSPORT – ATKINSON WINS AGAIN IN CHINA VW GOLF 7 SCRC

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CRC A FULL 2015

ATKINSON WINS AGAIN IN CHINA WITH VW GOLF 7 SCRC.

vv2

30 September 2015

Chris Atkinson has won the latest round of the Chinese Rally Championship in the VW Golf SCRC. Atkinson won comfortably by a minute and 40 seconds from Mark Higgins in the Subaru and Manfred Stohl in a Citroen DS3.

Chen Dean in the second Golf was fifth with Li ninth in the third car.

That makes it three wins from four events for Atkinson as the Championship heads to the next round Longyou at the end of October. Longyou was the debut event for the VW Golf SCRC last year when Atkinson to its maiden win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cedric Journel / Dongwei Zhang
Media & Comunication
Faw-Volkswagen Rally Team
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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 15 años

DAKAR RALLY ARGENTINA – BOLIVIA – ARGENTINA 2016: PEUGEOT TOTAL TEAM – LA LEYENDA DEL RALLY SÉBASTIEN LOEB SE UNE AL » DREAM TEAM» DE PEUGEOT TOTAL

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DAKAR A FULL 2016

La leyenda del rally Sébastien Loeb se une al “Dream Team” de Peugeot-Total.

Sebastien Loeb poses for a portrait in Peugeot Sport workshop, France, on September 21, 2015
Sébastien Loeb, el mejor piloto de rally de todos los tiempos, se enfrentará al mayor reto de su carrera al unirse por primera vez al equipo de Peugeot en el legendario Dakar del próximo mes de enero.

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29 Septiembre 2015

El nueve veces campeón del WRC y plusmarquista del Pikes Peak se ha unido al equipo de Peugeot 2008DKR junto a Carlos Sainz para el Rally du Maroc del próximo mes (del 3 al 9 de octubre) antes de hacer frente al mayor reto de este deporte, el Dakar, durante 13 días en Argentina y Bolivia en 2016. Junto a él en Sudamérica también estarán Stéphane Peterhansel y Cyril Despres completando así el “dream team” de pilotos de Peugeot-Total.

El francés de 41 años, Sébastien Loeb, uno de los pilotos con más éxito de la historia de los deportes de motor con un porcentaje de victorias sin precedentes del 46,2% en el WRC dijo: “Descubrí los deportes de motor cuando tenía 18 años y empecé a competir en mis primeros rallys. Desde entonces me han interesado todo tipo de deportes de motor y el Dakar es uno de ellos. Creo que es un gran reto competir y conducir en el desierto”.

“El Dakar es completamente diferente a las carreras que hago en este momento. va a ser muy larga, más de dos semanas, y necesitas tener aguante para cuidar del conductor y del coche. Es una carrera con un enfoque distinto pero lo descubriré en enero”.

Hasta entonces, Loeb se unirá a Sainz en Marruecos para su debut en el competitivo Cross Country, aunque ya pilotó el rival de Peugeot a principios de año. Para Loeb ésta será una reunión muy especial pues ya fue compañero de equipo de Sainz durante su primera temporada completa en el Mundial de Rallys del 2003, hasta que el español se tuvo que retirar del WRC de 2004. En Marruecos Sainz pilotará el último Peugeot 2008DKR16 mientras que Loeb pilotará un coche con especificaciones de 2015.

“Cuando probé el PEUGEOT 2008DKR en junio me sorprendió muchísimo y por supuesto ha cambiado mucho desde entonces”, dijo Loeb -que en la actualidad está compitiendo en el Campeonato Mundial de Turismos de la FIA con Citroen.

“Lo que más me impactó fue lo diferente que es conducir el coche del Dakar, era una experiencia completamente nueva para mí. En el WRC acostumbro a rodear obstáculos pero con este coche puedes simplemente pasar por encima, ¡y cuesta tener la suficiente confianza en uno mismo para creer que puedes hacerlo!”

“ También estoy acostumbrado a tener notas de copiloto muy detalladas pero en el Cross Country tienes que abrirte paso e improvisar tu ruta. Esta, además, es la primera vez que he pilotado diferentes tipos de coche diesel en una competición por lo que tengo que aprender mucho pero tengo muchas ganas de hacerlo”.

Además de haber ganado más rallys, etapas especiales y campeonatos que cualquier otro piloto, Sébastien Loeb también se ha convertido en el “Rey del Peak” al batir el record del Pikes Peak Hillclimb con Peugeot y Red Bull hace dos años en América. Un triunfo épico que ya forma parte de la historia legendaria de los deportes de motor.

Ahora forma parte del mejor equipo que se haya enfrentado jamás al Dakar. Tal y como dijo el 11 veces campeón del Dakar Stéphane Peterhansel: “Sébastien Loeb es un referente del motor. Hay muy poco que yo o cualquier otro le pueda enseñar”.

El cinco veces campeón de motos Cyril Despres añadió: “Desde que cambié las dos ruedas por cuatro, la experiencia no ha hecho más que mejorar. Y saber que ahora Sébastien se une al equipo la remata aún más”.

El dos veces campeón del WRC y campeón del Dakar en 2010 Carlos Sainz, que será una vez más el compañero de Loeb en Marruecos dijo: “No tengo nada más que decir sobre Sébastien que no haya dicho ya. Por supuesto que el rally raid va a ser una nueva aventura para él, pero va a ser capaz de adaptarse sin problemas. Como yo mismo he podido comprobar aprende muy rápido”.

“El Dakar es algo que me llama, es una gran aventura”, añadió Loeb, quien ya dominó el Pikes Peak y el WTCC. “El rally en Marruecos me mostrará lo que es realmente el Cross Country, así que para mí esta es una oportunidad fantástica para aprender, en especial al lado de unos compañeros tan buenos”.

Tal y como pasó con sus nueve títulos mundiales y sus 78 victorias en el WRC hasta la fecha, Loeb tendrá como copiloto al campeón mundial de deportes de motor monegasco Daniel Elena. Marruecos marcará la vuelta de la pareja con más éxito jamás vista en la historia del motor que emprende una nueva aventura juntos tras 17 gloriosos años en los rallys.

Al igual que Loeb, el copiloto de 42 años Elena nunca ha competido antes en Cross Country, pero se ha preparado a fondo para las exigencias de la navegación más dura del mundo, en la que los equipos tienen que reaccionar rápidamente para conquistar el terreno offroad más sobrecogedor. Cuentan además con la ayuda de un sofisticado sistema de GPS que les guiará de punto a punto.

El director deportivo de Peugeot Bruno Famin comentó: “ Sébastien fue impresionante desde que se sentó en el coche, como ya sabíamos tras haber trabajado con él anteriormente. Adoptó ese enfoque calculado que tanto le caracteriza para entender el coche paso a paso, pero después su habilidad natural se encargó del resto. Tras mejorar diferentes aspectos del coche desde la última vez que estuvimos en el Dakar, el fichaje de Sébastien Loeb es la pieza que le faltaba al puzzle”.

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The 2008 DKR 16 in Peugeot Sport workshop, France, on September 21, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cécile Estenave
Peugeot Sport France
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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 15 años

DAKAR RALLY ARGENTINA – BOLIVIA – ARGENTINA 2016: PEUGEOT TOTAL TEAM – RALLY LEGEND SÉBASTIEN LOEB JOINS » D-REAM TEAM PEUGEOT – TOTAL

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DAKAR A FULL 2016

Rally Legend Sébastien Loeb joins “D-ream TEAM Peugeot-Total”.

Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena pose for a portrait during the Peugeot test in Erfoud, Morocco on September 16, 2015

Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena pose for a portrait during the Peugeot test in Erfoud, Morocco on September 16, 2015

29 September 2015

Rally Legend Sébastien Loeb joins “D-ream TEAM Peugeot-Total” © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

Velizy-Villacoublay, France
Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Sébastien Loeb, the greatest rally driver ever, will take on one of the biggest challenges of his illustrious career when he lines up as part of Peugeot’s dream team at the legendary Dakar in January for the first time.

The nine-time World Rally Championship winner and Pikes Peak record-holder has joined Peugeot’s 2008DKR line-up alongside Carlos Sainz for next month’s Rallye du Maroc (October 3-9) before facing the sport’s toughest challenge, the Dakar, over 13 days in Argentina and Bolivia in 2016. Joining him in South America will also be Stéphane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres, completing Team Peugeot Total’s dream team driver line-up.

The 41-year old Loeb, one of the most successful drivers in the history of motorsports, with an unprecedented 46.2% wins-to-starts ratio in WRC, said: “I only discovered motorsports when I was 18 and I started competing in my first rallies. Since then I have been interested in all types of different motorsports and Dakar is one of them. I think it’s a great challenge to go and compete there and drive in the desert.

“The Dakar is completely different from the racing I’m doing at the moment. It will be very long, over two weeks, and you need to have the endurance to look after the driver and the car. It’s another approach to racing but I’ll discover that in January.”


Before then, Loeb will line up with Sainz in Morocco next week for his competitive Cross Country debut – although he already tested Peugeot’s Dakar challenger in the country earlier this year. For Loeb, this will be a very special reunion: he was previously team-mates with Sainz for his very first full season in the World Rally Championship in 2003, until the Spaniard decided to end his WRC career at the end of 2004. In Morocco, Sainz will drive the latest PEUGEOT 2008DKR16 whereas Loeb will drive a 2015-specification car.

“When I tried the PEUGEOT 2008DKR out in June, it was immediately very impressive for me – and of course it has changed a lot since then,” said Loeb, who is currently competing in the FIA WTCC with Citroen.

“What struck me most of all is how the Dakar car was a completely new experience: in the WRC I have been used to going round obstacles but with this car you can just drive straight over them, and it takes some time to have the confidence to believe it!

“I’ve also been used to having very detailed pace notes: in Cross Country, you have to find the road for yourself and improvise your route. And this is actually the first time I have driven any type of diesel car in competition too. So there is a lot for me to learn, but I am eager to find out more.”

As well as winning more rallies, special stages and championships than any other driver, Sébastien Loeb also became ‘King of the Peak’ when he pulverised the Pikes Peak hill climb record with Peugeot and Red Bull two years ago in America: an epic feat that is already remembered as a legendary part of motorsport history.

Now he forms part of the greatest team ever to tackle the Dakar. As 11-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel said: “Sébastien Loeb is a reference in motorsport. There’s very little that I, or anybody else, can teach him.”

Five-time bike winner Cyril Despres added: “Since I made the switch from two wheels to four, the experience has got better and better. And to see Sébastien arrive in the team now, everything is complete.”

Two-time WRC champion and Dakar 2010 winner Carlos Sainz, who will be Loeb’s team-mate once more in Morocco, concluded: “There is nothing more I can say about Sébastien that his career hasn’t said already. Of course rally raid will be a new adventure for him, but he has every capacity to adapt to it with no problem. As I have seen for myself in the past, he is a quick learner in everything he does.

“Dakar is something that appeals to me; it is a huge adventure,” added Loeb, who has already mastered rallying, Pikes Peak and the World Touring Car Championship. “The rally in Morocco will give me a very interesting idea of what Cross Country is all about, so this is a fantastic opportunity for me to learn; particularly alongside such successful team-mates.”

Just as has been the case throughout his nine world titles and 78 WRC victories to date, Loeb will be co-driven by Monaco’s motorsport world champion: Daniel Elena. Morocco will mark the comeback of the most successful pairing ever seen in the history of motorsport, as they start a new adventure together following 17 magnificent years in rallying.

Like Loeb, the 42-year-old Elena has never competed in Cross Country before, but he has undergone intensive training to prepare him for the demands of some of the most challenging navigation in the world, where crews have to think instantly on their feet to conquer the daunting off-road landscape. They are aided by sophisticated GPS equipment, guiding their route from waypoint to waypoint.

Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin commented: “Sébastien was impressive from the moment he first sat in the car, as we knew would be the case after having had the privilege of working with him before. He took his usual measured approached to understand the car step by step: from there his natural ability took over. Having improved the car in several different areas since we were last at the Dakar, the signing of Sébastien Loeb is the final piece in the puzzle.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cécile Estenave
Peugeot Sport France
https://www.Peugeot-sport.com

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