With less than two weeks to go before the start in Buenos Aires of the epic Dakar Rally, Team Peugeot-Total has completed its testing in Morocco, with the three Peugeot 2008 DKR now en-route to the Argentine capital.
The objective of the latest test, held in eastern Morocco, was to assess both performance and durability with all three crews and Stephen Peterhansel came to the conclusion that he'd never driven a faster car.
Some of the worst flooding seen for decades in Morocco made many roads to Erfoud impassable and made the Dakar Rally particularly unpredictable to drive. However, these wet conditions scored points by enabling the cars to adapt through the sort of rough conditions that have always characterised the event.
With Dakar testing, the tougher it is, the more realistic it becomes. All three drivers now feel well prepared for the biggest challenge in motorsport, having had a chance to put the stunningly liveried car through its paces over a wide variety of conditions. The obstacles that the team tackled in Morocco included rocks, sand dunes, tight gravel tracks and faster flat-out sections of terrain.
Peterhansel said: "I've been to this place maybe 15 times before in my career and I've never driven here this quickly: the way the suspension works in particular on the Peugeot 2008 DKR is fantastic. Even over the dunes, it's amazing how much grip you have with just two-wheel drive. So the car is definitely quick, although of course you never know how quick compared to everyone else. For sure, it has been born well. As it is two-wheel drive you need a nice and clean driving style not too sideways and this is something I was able to practise during the test."
The action gets underway on January 4 and ends on January 17, after 9,000 gruelling kilometres through three countries.
Peugeot Sport team principle, Bruno Famin, concluded: "We've worked non-stop to get the three cars ready. Now that our Morocco testing is over and the cars are on the way to Argentina, we can all look forward to the start of the next part of our adventure."