Last Chance For Loeb
French rally star Sebastien Loeb has confirmed that the pressure is on as this year will be the final golden window to win the Dakar Rally due to Peugeot’s decision not to compete in the event after 2018. The taxing South American 2016 and 2017 instalments of the event were won by Team Peugeot Total. 2017 marked the 9th time that the Dakar Rally was held in South America, making 2018 a cool decade.
Peugeot will enter two newly updated two-wheel drive 3008DKR maxi challengers this year, to be driven and navigated by Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz, Cyril Despres and Sebastien Loeb. For Loeb it will be the only win, or no win this year. Last year’s Team Peugeot Total was headed up by Stephane Peterhansel. Peterhansel won the event.
Loeb went on to admit that the increased number of dunes present on this year’s route may prove problematic. He said that there were many competitors taking part in this year’s event who had a great deal more experience than he, especially when it came to navigating the treacherous dunes of the Peruvian landscape.
According to Loeb, many different factors come into play when navigating the dunes on the route. He said that he did draw confidence from the fact that the car is a nicer drive than in the past and that it’s a great deal more stable and able to handle the tricky terrain.
The new car will without a doubt place Peugeot in the position to attack more effectively and it certainly seems as if Dakar 2018 may be the grand number 3 for the team and a fantastic way for the end of an era to draw to a close.
Dakar 2018 – The Route
This year’s route promises to be worthy of a 10 year South American legacy and will commence on the dunes of Peru, after which drivers will proceed onwards through Bolivia and Argentina.
Marc Coma, sporting director for the Dakar, has confirmed Loeb’s suspicions that this year will be the one to trump all previous years as far as the terrain goes. Competitors will be required to navigate a variety of sandscapes, one bound to be more tricky than the next. Coma has said that the terrain will this year ensure that the bar is set sky-high right from the onset.
Stage 1 commences in Peru on January 6th.
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