Peugeot launches upgraded 2008 DKR16 for 2016 Dakar Rally
Peugeot has revealed its 2016 Dakar Rally challenger - a complete overhaul of the car that failed to make any impact on the French firm's return this year
Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin told AUTOSPORT an evolution of the 2008 DKR was always part of the plan, but the new car appears more of revolution.
The DKR16, which produces more power from the three-litre twin-turbo diesel engine, is longer, wider and lower.
Front and rear overhang has been reduced, while the aerodynamics have been improved via heavily revised bonnet and roof air intakes.
The car's suspension has been redesigned, and improved weight distribution comes courtesy of changes including the use of magnesium one-piece wheels and lighter Michelin tyres.
The car completed its sign-off test session in Morocco last week.
"There isn't one big change we have made on our car," said Famin.
"Instead it has been a series of small evolutions in different areas, which together we hope will amount to an overall improvement.
"The tests we have carried out up to now, as well as our one-two finish in China recently, indicate we are heading in the right direction."
VIDEO: PEUGEOT 2008 DKR16 EVOLUTION
It is hoped the new car could compete on one other event ahead of the 2016 Dakar, but Famin said expectations remained realistic.
"We are not even in the middle of this programme yet," he told AUTOSPORT.
"We are still near the beginning. We talk about three years of visibility for Peugeot in Dakar, but there's no limit to how long [Peugeot will continue].
"We could say we go to win in 2016, but most likely that won't be the case and we say that for 2017."
Following his China Silk Road win in Peugeot's interim 2008 DKR, Stephane Peterhansel said the new car was a further improvement.
"You can really feel the difference now that the car is longer and wider, with a lower centre of gravity, because it's a lot more stable so cornering speeds are faster," said the 11-time Dakar winner.
"You can feel the difference in the engine as well: not only is it more powerful but also you can use all the power even at low revs.
"We've almost got a 'problem' now of how to manage all that power most effectively, but this is a very nice problem to have.
"We're still not at the maximum of our capabilities, but testing has been very productive so far."
Peterhansel's two-time World Rally champion team-mate Carlos Sainz was similarly upbeat.
"It's been good testing and the car has been running really well," he said.
"The potential of the car is much, much bigger than it was at this time last year and reliability has been solid too.
"We've changed quite a lot in the car in many key areas, so really we can call this one a completely new car compared to last year.
"I feel optimistic."
Peugeot managed 11th and 34th on its return to Dakar in January.
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