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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 15 años

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC 2015): VOLKSWAGEN RED BULL MOTORSPORT – MATCH POINT “DOWN UNDER” VOLKSWAGEN ON BRINK OF SUCCESSFUL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE DEFENCE

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Match point “down under”: Volkswagen on brink of successful World Championship title defence.

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After the home success: Volkswagen with first opportunity to wrap up three WRC titles
“Wild by nature”: unique conditions on the Australian gravel
Trip Down Under: express preparation for trip round the world

Rally Australia Preview

4 September 2015

Wolfsburg (04 September 2015). Following the successful Rally Germany on home soil, the Volkswagen Team now heads to the other side of the planet. It does so with three clear goals: the Rally Australia presents the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer with its first opportunity to wrap up all three titles in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with the Polo R WRC with races still to come. Should they defend the lead they have established in the Drivers’, Co-Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ championships over the first nine rounds of the season, they would secure victory in all three competitions. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N), who claimed a magnificent one-two-three at their recent home event in Germany, could once again make history Down Under – never before would the title championship have been decided at such an early point in the season. The recent one-two-three in Germany is not the only reason that Volkswagen goes into the event brimming with confidence: in 2014, Australia was the scene of Volkswagen’s first ever one-two-three with the Polo R WRC. The crews will be familiar with roughly three quarters of the challenging gravel routes around Coffs Harbour in the state of New South Wales from last year’s event. In total, they must complete 311.36 kilometres against the clock, spread over 17 special stages.

“We obviously want to take the momentum our home win has given us to Australia, although the conditions will be completely different Down Under,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “For this reason, we will once again be fully focussed as we pursue our goals at the Rally Australia, for which we have prepared meticulously again: we would like to wrap up all three titles with races to come – and we have a realistic chance of doing just that. In each competition, we must defend the lead we have established so far. However, that is not as simple as it sounds. We will have to do another perfect job in order to emerge successful. If we do produce another flawless performance, then there is a good chance we will have something special to celebrate in Australia.”

What if … – the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ World Championship

The lead currently stands at 93 points – Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia hold their destiny in their own hands as they aim for their third WRC title in a row in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship. For this dream to come true in Australia, they must maintain a lead of at least 84 points over Latvala/Anttila and Mikkelsen/Fløene. Only the three Volkswagen driver/co-driver pairings can still mathematically be crowned champions in 2015. They can afford to lose no more than nine points to Latvala/Anttila – should Latvala win, second place and a bonus point from the Power Stage would suffice for Ogier. Should they finish ahead of Latvala/Anttila, the title is theirs. Given the fact that they currently trail the leaders by 109 points, the chances of Mikkelsen/Fløene winning the title are more mathematical than realistic.

What if … – the Manufacturers’ World Championship

Of the 139-point lead going into the Rally Australia, 129 must still be intact after the event for Volkswagen to wrap up its third Manufacturers’ title in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in a row. Victory for either Jari-Matti Latvala or Sébastien Ogier would be sufficient to defend this lead – or, should closest rivals Hyundai win in Australia, second and fourth place for the two cars would also be good enough.

Wild, Wilder, Rally Australia – the special stages in New South Wales

“Newry”, “Nambucca” and “Wedding Bells” – the Australian stages are a unique feature on the World Rally Championship calendar. “Wild by nature” is the slogan selected by the organisers of this season’s tenth rally. The character of the stages change from expansive, flowing high-speed passages on open terrain to narrow, winding sections through thick forest. The hard surface is also covered by a loose layer of fine sand. As such, the set-up for the cars will be somewhere between those used in Mexico and Finland.

However, this is not the only thing that makes the Rally Australia so special. The “Valla” special stage at the end of Saturday’s racing is a 7.94-kilometre night stage and will be broadcast live on TV and plus.wrc.com. “Wedding Bells” will also be shown live and forms the closing Power Stage, which could play a key role in the race for the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ titles. 28.6 per cent of the special stages are new territory for the drivers in 2015, with the Friday in particular requiring them to adapt to new routes in the form of “Utungun”, “Northbank” and “Bakers Creek”.

Express trip Down Under – three Polo R WRC fit and ready for the Australian spring

There are just three weeks between the Rally Germany and the Rally Australia – a tight schedule, given that one WRC round is right on the doorstep and the other demands the longest trip on the World Championship calendar. The three Polo R WRC for Ogier, Latvala and Mikkelsen needed to be ready to commence their journey to the fifth continent by air on the Wednesday after their home rally. That left only a few days to prepare the chassis, which were most recently in action at the Rally Finland. The logistics team completed an important part of the preparations back at the Rally Argentina. From there, the recce cars and equipment headed directly to Australia as ocean freight – cleaned and dusted thoroughly, as Australian import regulations are particularly strict. In total, roughly 100 tons were packed off on a voyage around the world, of which 18 tons were air freight.

Quotes ahead of the Rally Australia

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“I love the Rally Australia. It is a very special event. As it is an overseas rally, there is a little less hustle and bustle than at Volkswagen’s home race in Germany, for example. It is a bit more intimate, and I like that. Furthermore, the special stages in Australia are very nice to drive. Always have a lot of fun in the car. Last year it was a great duel between Jari-Matti Latvala and me, and we were ultimately separated by just 6.8 seconds. I expect more thrilling battles with my team-mates again this year. We head Down Under on the back of a perfect team result. The Rally Germany was absolutely fantastic and definitely one of the highlights of the season. We obviously want to follow that with the next highlight. The main goal for the season is obviously to defend our titles. We have another match point in Australia. As well as the Manufacturers’ Championship with Volkswagen, we can also wrap up the titles in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ championships with races still to come. We will do our best to achieve this – ideally with a perfect team result.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The Rally Australia is unique. The forests, the harbour, and the whole atmosphere. It is more reminiscent of a vacation – but it obviously won’t be a holiday for the team and me. Sure, we will acclimatise a bit in Coffs Harbour and the surrounding area ahead of the rally. However, when we get down to the serious business we have to be, and will be, wide-awake and fully focussed. I like the fast, flowing special stages in Australia – particularly the combination of wide and narrow roads through the forest and on open ground. It is a bit like the Rally Finland and, as is well-known, that really suits me. On other sections, you are flat-out close to large trees. I really like that too. But you have to be careful: the surface is different to in the European forests. The car must have the perfect set-up. In Australia, you need a car set-up somewhere between the Rally Mexico and the Rally Finland. We have good reference values, which we will use. I am very confident about Australia. Last year it was very tight between Sébastien Ogier and me, and my goal for this year is to be up there challenging for the win again.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“After the successful Rally Germany, we are back on gravel with the Polo – and I am really looking forward to it. The Rally Australia is one of my favourite rallies. I like the special stages and the different challenges. For example, there are a lot of blind corners in the forests. They demand a lot of feel for the car on the one hand, and a big portion of courage on the other. It is far from easy, and even a small mistake can ruin your entire rally. Last year, Australia produced the first one-two-three for Volkswagen. That was a fantastic team result and showed just how competitive we are Down Under. I was very happy with third place. Ola and I set some very good times, so I am definitely confident. I have a good chance of winning my first WRC Rally in Australia. That remains a goal, which I would like to achieve sooner rather than later. So, bring it on!”

News from the Volkswagen team

+++ A new head mechanic for Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene: Yari Mitschinelli takes over this job as of the Rally Australia for the pair currently third in the World Championship. Mitschinelli has been working as a mechanic for the duo for the past three years in the WRC. Artur Wronski, who was the Norwegians’ previous head mechanic and won the Rally Dakar with Volkswagen, will take over the management of the test team in the future. +++

+++ There will be a one-off change of head mechanics for Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila at the Rally Australia. Latvala and Anttila’s Polo R WRC will be serviced by Artur Wronski and their regular mechanics for the one race Down Under. Jose Azevedo, who has been a loyal servant of Latvala/Anttila for many years, is unable to make it Australia for a very good reason. He has had to remain in Portugal for the christening of his nephew, to whom he is also godfather. +++

The number for the Rally Australia: 76.9 per cent

Volkswagen travels to Australia with fond memories. Last year the team secured the Manufacturers’ title in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in Coffs Harbour, with races still to come. They could achieve the same feat in 2015 – and, in doing so, equal last year’s record. Back then, Volkswagen was crowned champion manufacturer after 10 of 13 rallies – the earliest the title had been decided in WRC history. The round Down Under is once again the tenth of 13 races in 2015.

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC),
Rally Australia – TV broadcast

Western Europe
Andorra (Canal +), Austria (ORF, Servus TV, Sport1, LAOLA1.tv, RTL), Belgium (Canal +, RTBF), Cyprus (Cyta Vision), Europe (MOTORS TV), Finland (YLE, Nelonen), France (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21), Germany (Sport1, Servus TV, LAOLA1.tv, Sky, RTL), Greece (OTE), Italy (RAI, Fox Sports), Ireland (BT Sport, itv4), Liechtenstein (Sport1, Servus TV, RTL), Luxembourg (Canal +, Servus TV, Sport1, RTL), Monaco (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21), Norway (TV2), Portugal (Sport TV, RTP), Spain (Canal +, TV3), Sweden (SVT), Switzerland (Canal +, Sport1, Servus TV, RTL), UK (BT Sport, itv4), Wales (S4C)

Eastern Europe
Belarus (Auto Plus), Bosnia and Herzigovina (Arena TV), Bulgaria (BNT), Croatia (Arena TV), Czech Republic (Czech TV, O2, Sport 5), Estonia (Estonia TV, Auto Plus), Kososvo (Arena TV), Latvia (Auto Plus), Lithuania (Auto Plus), Macedonia (Arena TV), Moldova (Auto Plus), Montenegro (Arena TV), Poland (Polsat, TVP, tvn), Romania (Dolce Sport), Russia (Auto Plus), Serbia (Arena TV), Slovakia (Sport5), Slovenia (Arena TV), Turkey (NTV), Ukraine (First Automotive Channel, Auto Plus)

Middle East and Africa
Algeria (Dubai Sports Channel), Angola (Canal +, Sport TV), Bahrain (Dubai Sports Channel), Benin (Canal +), Botswana (Canal +), Burkina Faso (Canal +), Burundi (Canal +), Cameroon (Canal +), Cape Verde (Canal +, Sport TV), Djibouti (Dubai Sports Channel), Egypt (Dubai Sports Channel), Equatorial Guinea (Canal +), Eritrea (Dubai Sports Channel), Ethopia (Canal +), Gabon (Canal +), Gambia (Canal +), Guinea (Canal +), Guinea-Bissau (Canal +), Iran (Dubai Sports Channel), Iraq (Dubai Sports Channel), Israel (Charlton), Ivory Coast (Canal +), Jordan (Dubai Sports Channel), Kenya (Canal +), Kuwait (Dubai Sports Channel), Lebanon (Dubai Sports Channel), Libya (Dubai Sports Channel), Madagascar (Canal +), Malawi (Canal +), Mali (Canal +), Mauritania (Canal +, Dubai Sports Channel), Mauritius (Canal +), Morocco (Dubai Sports Channel), Mozambique (Canal +, Sport TV), Namibia (Canal +), Nigeria (Canal +), Niger (Canal +), Oman (Dubai Sports Channel), Pakistan (Neo Sports), Palestine (Dubai Sports Channel), Qatar (Dubai Sports Channel), Sao Tome (Canal +), Saudi Arabia (Dubai Sports Channel), Senegal (Canal +), Seychelles (Canal +), Sierra Leone (Canal +), Somalia (Dubai Sports Channel), Sudan (Dubai Sports Channel), Syria (Dubai Sports Channel), Tanzania (Canal +), Togo (Canal +), Tunisia (Dubai Sports Channel), Uganda (Canal +), United Arab Emirates (Dubai Sports Channel), Yemen (Dubai Sports Channel), Zambia (Canal +), Zimbabwe (Canal +)

Asia Pacific
Armenia (Auto Plus), Australia (Fox Sports), American Samoa (MAV TV), Azerbeijan (Auto Plus), Baker Island (MAV TV), Bangladesh (NEO Sports), Bhutan (NEO Sports), China (CCTV 5, PPTV), Guam (MAV TV), Georgia (Auto Plus), Howland Islands (MAV TV), India (NEO Sports), Kazakhstan (Auto Plus), Kyrgyzstan (Auto Plus), Japan (J-Sport), Jarvis Island (MAV TV), Kingman Reef (MAV TV), Malaysia (Astro), Micronesia (MAV TV), Midway Islands (MAV TV), Navassa Island (MAV TV), Nepal (NEO Sports), New Zealand (Sky Sports), Norther Marianas (MAV TV), Palau (MAV TV), South Korea (SBS Sport), Sri Lanka (NEO Sports), Tajikistan (Auto Plus), Thailand (Truevision), Turkmenistan (Auto Plus), U.S. Virgin Islands (MAV TV), Uzbekistan (Auto Plus), Wake Islands (MAV TV)

North and Latin America
Argentina (Channel 12, Fox Sports), Bahamas (MAV TV), Barbados (MAV TV), Belize (MAV TV), Bolivia (Fox Sports), Brazil (Fox Sports), Chile (Fox Sports), Colombia (Fox Sports), Costa Rica (Fox Sports), Cuba (Fox Sports), Dominican Republic (Fox Sports), Ecuador (Fox Sports), El Salvador (Fox Sports), Guatemala (Fox Sports), Haiti (MAV TV), Honduras (Fox Sports), Jamaica (MAV TV), Mexico (Fox Sports, TV4), Nicaragua (Fox Sports), Panama (Fox Sports), Paraguay (Fox Sports, Telefuturo), Peru (Fox Sports), Puerto Rico (MAV TV), Trinidad & Tobago (MAV TV, Channel 12), Uruguay (Channel 12), USA (MAV TV, Fox Sports), Venezuela (Fox Sports)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

André Dietzel
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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.

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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
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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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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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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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