After winning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in record time on its first time out in 2013, Team Peugeot Total’s first year at the Dakar Rally in 2015 was oddly rough. Its Peugeot 2008 DKR suffered many reliability issues, and the team finished well off the pace of the leaders.

For the 2016 edition next month, the French team will bring along a new challenger in the form of the Peugeot 2008 DKR16, updated to become bigger, lower and more powerful than before.

And with a new year comes a new livery – it retains the traditional Red Bull blue, red and yellow scheme, but in a new design that is said to showcase the “go-anywhere capabilities” of the new car. There’s also now silver instead of white on the roof to reflect the harsh Argentine sunshine – temperatures in the South American nation can exceed 50 degrees Celsius.

The new design complements the significant changes made to the 2008 DKR to be more competitive, including shorter front and rear overhangs that significantly alter the weight distribution and make it easier to tackle obstacles. The bodywork has also been revised to improve downforce and airflow, while the suspension has been redesigned, matched to lighter magnesium wheels and Michelin tyres.


It’s also more powerful than before – the 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 diesel has been tweaked to produce 10 more horsepower, so outputs now stand at 350 hp and 800 Nm. As before, power is sent through a six-speed sequential manual gearbox to the rear wheels.

“If the car goes as well as it looks, then we are certainly set for a strong year next year!” said Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin. “In its definitive livery, the new Peugeot 2008 DKR16 looks like it’s going really fast even when it’s standing still. We know that our cars will definitely have a strong visual presence on the Dakar: now it’s down to us as a team to make the most of that.”

Last year’s drivers, 11-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel, five-time bike winner Cyril Despres, and two-time WRC champion and 2010 Dakar Rally winner Carlos Sainz, will reprise their seats in 2016. They will be joined by the one who won Pikes Peak for Peugeot, nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb.