Nine-time World Rally Championship (WRC) winner Sebastien Loeb will be reigniting his partnership with Peugeot in the coming 2016 Dakar Rally, after the pair’s success at the 2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb event. Is there anything the man can’t do?

Set to take the wheel of the Peugeot 2008 DKR16, Loeb has his sights firmly set on winning the championship, alongside a set of teammates who are no strangers to the Dakar Rally: 11-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel, five-time bike winner Cyril Despres, and two-time WRC champion and 2010 Dakar Rally winner Carlos Sainz.

“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 it’ll discover that in January,” said Loeb.


For a bit of a warm-up, Loeb and Sainz will both be taking part in October’s Rallye du Maroc, where the more Dakar-experienced Sainz will pilot a 2016-spec Peugeot 2008 DKR16 car, while Loeb will take the wheel of a 2015-spec racer.

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

The Peugeot 2008 DKR is a significantly different animal compared to the road-going 2008 compact SUV. For starters, it is equipped with a 3.0 litre twin-turbo diesel V6 that dishes out 340 hp and a staggering 800 Nm of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential transmission.

The only similarity between the road-going 2008 and the Dakar racer (apart from sharing similar badges and other minor styling elements) is that both cars feature two-wheel drive systems (front on the road car, rear on the Dakar racer).

When the 2008 DKR was first revealed mid last year, Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin said, “given that the production 2008 is a two-wheel drive crossover equipped with Grip Control technology, which enables it to go just about anywhere, it is only right that the 2008 DKR derivative should similarly take on the challenges of the Dakar with just two-wheel drive.”

Despite his vast competitive experience and success in a multitude of motorsport disciplines, Sebastien Loeb has never competitively participated in the Dakar Rally. Today, at age 41, he still maintains a competitive career in motorsport, fighting for the World Touring Car Championship with the Citroen team, currently ranked third in the series overall.