|Dakar Rally 2015: Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres to start with Peugeot 2015.|
On the fringe of the presentation of the Dakar route, Peugeot announced its return for the 2015 edition, with two outstanding recruits to start a new adventure on the event. Carlos Sainz, but also Cyril Despres, will be entrusted with putting the brand of the lion in the limelight, just like Ari Vatanen and Juha Kankkunen in the 1980’s.
The news was expected for the last few months, but still harboured some areas of uncertainty. It is now official, Peugeot will be making its return to the Dakar for the 2015 edition and will be calling on the services of two of the discipline’s leading competitors, who between them boast six titles on the event: Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres.
Whilst the rumours had been rife all week about the recruitment by Peugeot of the Spanish driver, winner of the event in 2010 behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Touareg, the secret concerning the switch by Cyril Despres from bike to car was carefully preserved. The five times winner on two wheels admits himself to being surprised at the speed with which this turning point in his career has arrived.
"On leaving the last Dakar, the idea of not returning on a bike was far from my mind! But I was lucky enough to be contacted by Peugeot. It’s an opportunity to make a grand entrance into the car category and the sort that only comes along once in a lifetime," Despres reported.
Aware of the magnitude of the challenge that awaits him in trying to reproduce his previous success this time on four wheels, the French competitor will start with a period of apprenticeship, during which Carlos Sainz will play the role of team captain, with the goal of winning as soon as possible.
"I know that when Peugeot is involved in a discipline, they are 100% committed and in it to win it. For the moment, time is against us, but I know that the utmost will be done to allow us to be ready to do battle, if possible as early as 2015," explains 'El Matador' Sainz, without even having tried out the vehicle that he will be driving.
To follow in the footsteps of the 205 T16 and 405 T16 which brought the brand of the lion success from 1987 to 1990, Peugeot Sport has merely unveiled the name of its new winning machine, the 2008 DKR, whose first tests are scheduled for the second half of the year. "It will be a very special car," promises Sainz.
"Peugeot is a brand that is not scared of commitment. In everything they do, they are always at the top level. I’m certain that this will again be the case for their involvement in the Dakar and I like major challenges. Succeeding in winning this race is an objective that demands a lot of work and, for the moment, time is against us. But we have an enthusiastic team and everybody is ready to give their utmost to achieve this goal."
Cyril Despres, five times winner of the Dakar in the bike category (2005-07-10-12-13): "It’s an opportunity that only comes along once in a lifetime. Now, I’m going to have to learn to be able to stamp my mark on the category like only a few competitors have managed in a car after having won on a bike. I’ve always said that I was able to make progress in the rally-raid discipline because I was surrounded by major names of the discipline like Roma, Meoni and Sainct who taught me a lot and paved the way for me. In this team, I’ve got the feeling that it will be the same. I’m convinced that Carlos will be able to teach me a great deal. It will be superb adventure, a logical progression for me, and that gives me the desire to do well."
2014/03/26 | 21:23 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/ASO