The verdict from Jyväskylä

Rally Finland (27-30 July 2017) – Finish

One the season’s flagship events, Rally Finland more than lived up to expectations, serving up a breathtaking spectacle in the land of a thousand lakes. Once again, all three of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT’s C3 WRCs made it to the finish. Craig Breen and Scott Martin secured the team’s best result with fifth place, after a rally that was largely dominated by Finnish cars and drivers.

THE STORY OF THE RACE

For the first time this season, a Citroën C3 WRC set the fastest time in the shakedown. Despite driving in cold, wet conditions for most of the pre-event test, Kris Meeke topped the timesheets on the Ruuhimäki stage, widely regarded as being representative of the rest of the rally. After kicking off proceedings on Thursday evening with the Harju street stage, the Northern Irishman produced another fine performance on Friday morning’s opening speed test to grab second place, just a tenth off the stage-winning time.

The rest of this monster leg – with twelve stages spread over fifteen hours – was less positive for last year’s rally winner. Lacking confidence, he fell off the pace and then lost further time in the afternoon after bending his steering when he hit a rock. At the end of the day, he held ninth place, just over a minute behind the leader.

At the same time, Craig Breen earned his spurs as the Flying Irishman. Having moved into third position after SS2, he then showed an impressive level of consistency. Despite a set-up and pace notes that might have been better in places, he held onto a top five spot, along with four Finnish drivers! As he arrived back in Jyväskylä at the end of this long day, Craig was fourth overall, 33s behind Esapekka Lappi.

Saturday’s schedule was barely lighter than that of the previous day. The itinerary included two runs on the famous Ouninpohja stage, often compared to riding on a rollercoaster since it features no fewer than 75 jumps, invariably driven flat out!

During the morning loop, the Citroën drivers were surprised by the level of grip, which was much lower than on Friday. In these low-grip conditions, they were unable to match the pace of their rivals in less effective C3 WRCs. Kris Meeke also had further issues with his steering, related his minor impact on Friday.

With the loose gravel swept off the roads, the second pass was more positive. The best performance was recorded by Kris Meeke, who set the fourth fastest time on Ouninpohja 2. On the final speed test of the day, the Ulsterman lost a minute after picking up a puncture and the tyre then exploding, which ripped off part of the bodywork.

On Saturday evening, Craig held fifth place – less than half a minute behind second position – whilst Kris was eighth, three minutes adrift.

Sunday’s leg featured just four short stages. With clear gaps between the competitors, the Citroën drivers opted to make sure of their positions. Driven by Khalid Al Qassimi, the third Citroën C3 WRC crossed the final podium in sixteenth position.

QUESTIONS FOR YVES MATTON, CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL

How would you assess this weekend at Rally Finland ?
“I think we showed that the Citroën C3 WRC is continuing to move in the right direction. Kris Meeke set some good times, especially at the start of the rally with the fastest time in the shakedown, and the second best time on SS2… After that, he really struggled to match the pace of the leaders and we knew that here, this sort of situation would lead to him dropping down the standings. It’s a bit of a vicious circle: the car no longer works like it should and it’s then difficult to come back. He therefore ended up spending pretty much the entire weekend behind Craig Breen, who had a very good race. For the fifth time this season, he finished fifth. Above all, he was the leading ‘non-Finnish driver’ for the majority of the weekend. We saw this weekend that the local drivers were in total control. The data gathered throughout these three days of racing confirmed the areas in which we must continue to focus our efforts. We know that the car is more or less effective depending on the surfaces and the conditions. The window in which the C3 WRC works efficiently is getting bigger, but we still have some work to do.”

Can you now say whether reshuffling the crews for Rally Poland was the right thing to do ?
“This weekend, Kris had the right approach: when he realised that couldn’t challenge for the win, he accepted it and managed his pace to make sure he completed all of the stages and set some good times when the conditions were favourable. The experience acquired this weekend is just as useful for him as it is for our engineers. To some extent, we’ve gone back to basics.”

In three weeks, the WRC returns to tarmac in Germany. Can you tell us what your expectations are for this tenth round ?
“Having won it eleven times since 2002, the ADAC Rallye Deutschland is undoubtedly Citroën’s favourite event. At the Tour de Corse, we had dominated at the start of the rally before Kris had a mechanical issue. We’ll therefore be determined to turn it around in Germany, but our approach will remain sensible. The roads in Corsica and Germany have little in common with each other and we know that our rivals have been doing a lot of work over the last few months. As previously announced, Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Andreas Mikkelsen will driving the three C3 WRCs entered for the rally.”


Before that, Sébastien Loeb will be driving a C3 WRC during a day of testing. What is the significance of this event ?
“It’s something that I had been thinking about for a little while and which has been made possible by the creation of the PSA Motorsport entity. There is a shared desire and interest in conducting this test. As far as we are concerned, we’ll be getting feedback from the greatest rally driver of all time. As for Seb, he will be able to satisfy his curiosity and drive the latest generation of World Rally Car.”

Sam Bird produces stunning comeback drive to climb to third in drivers standings

Montreal, 29th July 2017

  • Sam Bird gains 13 places to finish fifth and move up to third in the driver standings.
  • DS Virgin Racing further reduces deficit to just 21 points in fight for third in constructors’ championship.
  • Everything to play for in Sunday’s season finale in Montreal.

     

Following his double-win last time out in New York, DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird produced another standout performance to gain 13 places to finish fifth during today’s Formula E Montreal ePrix; moving him up to third in the drivers’ standings.

The Briton carved his way through the field from 18th on the grid to pick up 10 vital points and in turn help his DS Virgin Racing team to narrow the gap to third spot in the constructors’ championship heading into tomorrow’s season finale.

Earlier in the day both Bird and team-mate Jose Maria Lopez, who missed the previous New York rounds, had displayed very strong pace in practice. However, they were unable to show this in qualifying when a mapping issue limited their cars to 170kw of power instead of the available 200kw, thus compromising both of them.

Despite starting the 35-lap race 16th and 18th, both drivers gained ground early on running just outside the points when they pitted to take advantage of a full course yellow situation.

By two thirds race distance, Bird had been able to get passed Lopez with the two now both running in the points in eighth and ninth respectively. However, a mistake by Lopez after trying to gain further ground saw him make contact with the barriers at turn eight and cut short his race.

This brought out the safety car and when racing resumed, Bird continued his fightback showing the pace and control of his DSV-02 car to cross the line sixth. This later become fifth post-race after Renault e.dams driver Sébastien Buemi was excluded for an infringement.

“I gave it my all in that race and I’m really pleased to come away with some great points,” said Bird. “Of course, it was disappointing to have started at the back, but I know if we’d been at the front of the grid it could have been a different story, but it’s still great to come away with the result we did.”

Lopez said: “That was a disappointing result for us after making up so many places. I got out of position after overtaking a car on the previous corner and just made a mistake. It’s a shame because it’s clear to see the improvements the team have made since I last drove and we certainly have the pace to fight for more tomorrow.”

Team Principal Alex Tai commented: “When you have such a competitive car it’s frustrating when you don’t come away with the qualifying results you know you can achieve. However, the professionalism of the team meant we were able to put this behind us and Sam produced a fantastic drive to set us up for a great season finale tomorrow. I know with the pace we have, if we can start at the front we will finish there.”

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “Sam once again proved that our DSV-02 car is one of the most competitive in the championship with a great drive. Today we know we made a mistake in qualifying and it reminds us how much every detail counts and the work of the whole team. Solidarity and the positive involvement of each are essential to achieving great results and tomorrow we hope we can put this behind us and end the season on a high.”

The second Montreal ePrix, and the final round of the 2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship, takes place tomorrow from 16:00 local time.

Peugeot triumphs for the second consecutive year at Silk Way Rally

Final Podium – Silk Way Rally 2017

  • Cyril Despres/David Castera make it two out of two, as the winners of the 2016 Silk Way Rally triumph again this year, having held the lead for the entirety of the second week of the race. Their Peugeot DKR #100 eventually won with a margin of one hour and five minutes, over a total of 9599 kilometers those 4094 kilometers of which were on timed section.
  • Peugeot unbeaten on the 2017 Silk Way! A Peugeot was in the lead after every one of the 13 days of the Silk Way Rally, courtesy of Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena, Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul Cottret and Cyril Despres / David Castera. In total, the Peugeot ‘Dream Team’ won ten stages, with seven one-two stage finishes, as well as two one-two-three stage finishes.
  • Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret eventually finished fifth, having won five stages. Their chances of winning were eliminated in the fourth stage, when they lost much time following a roll, having had to repair their car on the stage.
  • While the three crews had mixed fortunes on the Silk Way Rally, their Peugeot racing cars proved to be both fast and reliable. Introducing the Peugeot DKR Maxi, for its first competitive outing at Silk Way Rally, the Peugeot Sport engineers had the confirmation they needed that all their hard work had paid off. The technical evolutions are in the right direction, contributing to increased overall performance and giving the drivers added confidence.

PEUGEOT DKR CONFIRMS PERFORMANCE IN CHINA AFTER PREVIOUS SUCCESS IN SOUTH AMERICA

Peugeot has triumphed again on the Silk Way Rally, which took place from Russia to China over two weeks, having also claimed the event last year with Cyril Despres. The French brand set off from the start in Moscow with three cars: one Peugeot DKR Maxi for Loeb, and two examples of the current Peugeot DKR, which also locked out the podium on the Dakar Rally in January.

MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE FOR PEUGEOT DKR MAXI ON ITS FIRST COMPETITIVE OUTING

The Peugeot DKR Maxi featured a wider track that was 10 centimetres longer on each side, as well as other technical improvements that were being trialled on the Silk Way Rally, for the Dakar Rally next year. Sebastien Loeb used it to lead the rally at an impressive pace for the first week, claiming four stage wins in total. With an advantage of more than an hour, Loeb crashed the day after the rest day in Urumqi while driving off the main track to avoid a rocky river bed. His car tripped over a drainage channel, damaging it badly, and although the DKR Maxi was eventually able to be repaired, Loeb sprained a finger and couldn’t continue. Despite this misfortune, the French duo gained more experience and know-how of tackling long distance events.

DESPRES NICKNAMED “MR SILK WAY RALLY’’ AFTER CLINCHING VICTORY FOR THE SECOND TIME IN A ROW

Following Loeb’s accident, Despres took over the lead, having driven faultlessly from start to finish. He only had two problems, getting stuck in a hole during the first week, and becoming perched on a sand dune three days from the finish, but these were relatively minor issues that didn’t prevent him from leading the rally commandingly, to claim his second victory in cars, after a distinguished career on bikes.

STEPHANE PETERHANSEL: A GOLDEN GUARDIAN ANGEL

Peterhansel, the winner of the Dakar Rally this year (and the most successful driver in Dakar history) had his chances of Silk Way Rally victory ruined in the first week, when he lost two hours after an accident. Nonetheless, from the bottom of the overall classification he fought back resiliently to claim a top-five finish, setting more fastest stage times on the Silk Way Rally than any other driver. Not only that, but Peterhansel performed a vital role as ‘guardian angel’ over Despres in the closing stages of the rally, helping his colleague to maintain his leadership by being on hand to assist in the event of any issues. This proved to be invaluable, with Despres able to drive securely in the knowledge that his team mate was on hand. This is ‘Team Spirit’ by Team Peugeot Total.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL

The Silk Way Rally was an essential part of Team Peugeot Total’s preparation for the Dakar Rally, with the team testing numerous technical and logistical solutions that will be put into place on the most famous endurance rally of them all in six months’ time.

Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport Director / Team Manager Peugeot Total
“As we expected – or perhaps even more than we expected – the Silk Way Rally took a huge toll on all the competitors, with two of our cars being caught out by accidents. And they were in good company, because many other competitors faced the same problems. So, it was a very demanding rally but this is exactly what we were looking for, as we were looking for a challenge as we prepare our cars for the Dakar. In general, I was very happy not just with the pace but especially the reliability of our cars. Apart from a small power steering issue with Cyril, we had no major problems at all with any of the cars, which was very encouraging. The Peugeot DKR Maxi seems to be an improvement anywhere, with no disadvantages that we can tell so far compared to the current car. Congratulations to Cyril Despres and David Castera, both of whom performed faultlessly throughout the length of the rally to claim their second win here. While Stephane Peterhansel is ‘Mr Dakar’, I think we can now safely say that Cyril Despres is ‘Mr Silk Way’!”



Cyril DESPRES, Pilote Team Peugeot Total Driver

Winner of the 2016 & 2017 Silk Way Rally
“It’s been a fantastic rally, a huge adventure, and I’m very happy to continue my progression as a car driver with another win here: on an event that I’m very fond of. To set off in Moscow and end up in China…it’s really an amazing event. Throughout the whole of the rally neither myself nor David didn’t make any big mistakes, which was really the key to the victory, as well as having a reliable car. To be honest, I still think I have plenty to learn as a car driver; there’s still a gap in my speed compared to my team mates, which is something that I would like to make up. But I can see that I’m improving year on year, which is very motivating, as I know that the best is still to come. Now we look forward to the Dakar Rally, where we were third last year, so winning here is the best preparation.”


Stéphane PETERHANSEL, Team Peugeot Total Driver

5th overall (cars) of the 2017 Silk Way Rally
“Mixed emotions for me at the end of this rally. On the one hand, for myself, I am disappointed as I am a competitor and so the only result that really interests me is winning! On the other hand, I am very happy for Cyril and the whole Peugeot team for another victory here, and I’m also pleased that we were able to carry out the job of assisting him. Over the course of the rally we saw that the cars were quick and reliable and I think the Maxi is a step forward, although as Sébastien Loeb is such a fast driver, it’s hard to tell how much of the speed comes from him and how much comes from the car. In any case, it’s two years now that Cyril has won the Silk Way Rally and I have won the Dakar, so of course I’ll be really happy if history repeats itself again!”


Sébastien LOEB, Team Peugeot Total Driver

“The rally did not end the way we wanted it to for myself and Daniel, but I’m very happy for the whole Peugeot team and especially Cyril and David for this important victory. It was also a great feeling to lead the event with a good margin during the first week, and I think the Maxi was a key factor in helping to achieve this, although it was more suited to certain stages than others. Now we will continue the development work, using all the important lessons we have learned from Silk Way, in preparation for the Dakar.”

Photos credits : © MCH Photography / PeugeotSport

Victory for Peugeot & Cyril Despres in the Silk Way Rally as final stage cancelled due to bad weather

PRESS RELEASE – 07/21/2017

  • Peugeot has secured victory in the Silk Way Rally with Cyril Despres and David Castera on the Peugeot DKR #100, after Saturday’s final special stage was cancelled due to bad weather conditions. The crews will still travel by road to the finish podium in Xi’an tomorrow, where the celebration will take place. But Official race is over.
  • Despres had earlier opened up a cushion of over an hour in the Peugeot DKR #100 over his nearest rival after setting the second best time on Friday’s 13th stage, which turned out to be the last competitive test.
  • After taking the 10th stage win out of a possible 13 for Peugeot, Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret are set for fifth overall, recovering after they fell down the order because of a crash on the fourth stage.

Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport Director / Team Peugeot Total Manager
“Huge congratulations to Cyril and David: they have driven well
throughout and avoided major problems, which was not easy. It’s a
good performance on a very tough rally! With just one remaining
car in the run for victory from the race halfway point, it’s even
satisfying. This is the result of a perfect team work. We managed
pressure and technics perfectly. I am proud of the team spirit we
have within the Team Peugeot Total and I would like to thank all
the people who have been working hard to reach, again, a victory
in Asia.”

Cyril DESPRES, Team Peugeot Total Driver
Winner of Silk Way Rally 2016 & 2017
“We started with the rain, and we finish with the rain, celebrating
the victory in a very strange way tonight at the bivouac. I am so
happy we made it again! I am proud of the work accomplished
together with David Castera. I think we made it quickly to victory,
as both of us are coming from the two wheels-drive category.
Thank you for Peugeot for giving me this great opportunity of
career. Thank you to the Peugeot Sport engineers and mechanics
also, for building up such a great car I just one year. I can’t wait to
tackle Dakar 2018 with the Peugeot DKR Maxi. This is clearly my
next goal now. ”

David Castera, Team Peugeot Total Co-Driver
Winner of Silk Way Rally 2016 & 2017
“We did a clean rally, no major issue, either from a technical and
a sporting point of view. I am glad we made it again! Hard work is
paying off! We will take some good rest and then go back to
testing sessions. There is something even bigger waiting for us
now, in the name of Peugeot DKR Maxi.’’

Peugeot pulled off a coup in the dunes, with the end of Silk Way Rally in sight

PRESS RELEASE – 07/21/2017

    • Stephane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret won the penultimate stage of the Silk Way Rally: the 10th stage victory for Peugeot from the 13 competitive days run so far. Their Peugeot DKR #106 also climbs up to fifth position overall after a complex stage 13, containing big dunes and several twists of fate for many of the competitors.
    • Cyril Despres/David Castera were second on the stage, just under two minutes behind their teammates. Both Peugeot DKRs finished 20 minutes clear of their closest competitors on a wide and open road. Thanks to a brilliant combined team performance, this was the seventh Peugeot one-two of the rally. Despres and Castera now have a cushion of more than one hour in the overall lead, which bodes well for tomorrow’s last stage.
    • The Peugeot DKRs still have to tackle the final 100 competitive kilometres, before the finish celebration in Xi’an tomorrow afternoon. It will be the second-shortest stage of the entire rally and clearly one of the most crucial, mostly raced in a dry river bed and on challenging tracks. Concentration and caution will be the key for the ‘Dream Team’.

The Peugeot drivers were relieved to get through the final day of complex dunes on the Silk Way Rally, achieved in consummate style as it was another one-two for the Peugeot DKR. The penultimate leg of the rally was widely acknowledged as perhaps the trickiest of the entire event, but Peterhansel and Despres enjoyed a strong one-two formation finish, both drivers negotiating the route in convoy. Unlike yesterday, there were no untoward occurrences and it was a long yet reasonably straightforward run over 318 competitive kilometres, which means that Peugeot now stands on the threshold of a second consecutive Silk Way Rally victory, following Despres’s success last year. But of course, it’s never over until it’s really over… so tomorrow’s final 100 kilometres will be tackled with caution.


Stéphane PETERHANSEL, Pilote Team Peugeot Total Driver

1 st of stage 13 / 5 th overall (cars)
“We had a very long and complicated stage today with lots of dunes so we were really relieved to cross the finish line. I feel tired now. I drove the whole stage together with Cyril, so that worked well. My co-driver Jean-Paul did a great job and we didn’t get stuck in the sand, so it’s mostly positive for us. In the end, here we are here, close to the end of the rally. This record of Peugeot stage victories is a kind of consolation for me. I had two goals from when I had the accident and knew I was not in contention for victory anymore: helping my teammates and winning stages, for fun.”

Cyril DESPRES, Pilote Team Peugeot Total Driver
2nd of stage 13 / 1 st overall
“Today went well but it was a very long day on the special stage, more than five hours of racing in total, which we were not really expecting. We knew the big dunes would be challenging and it seems that they have been shaking up the overall classification. I think myself and David did a good job, so we are happy! Our pace was good and we made no real mistakes on the dunes, which was the most important thing. I am grateful to Stéphane and Jean Paul, who have again been our guardian angels. I can start thinking about the victory. I am really excited to end the rally in the best way possible.”

TOMORROW: STAGE 14
Tomorrow’s leg is 716.56 kilometres long, but only 100.67 of those kilometres are competitive: the rest is formed of a long road section to the finish in Xi’an. The stage itself is short but technical, running through the bottom of a spectacular canyon. While there are no particularly obvious hazards to trip crews up, this is obviously one of the most important stages for drivers and co-drivers to get right.

DID YOU KNOW?
Xi’an (population 8.55 million), which hosts the rally finish tomorrow, is one of the oldest cities in China and capital of the Shaanxi province. Xi’an was traditionally the starting point of the Silk Way trading route for merchants coming from China, and it’s also home to the terracotta army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who died in 210 BC. His terracotta soldiers are now housed in a dedicated museum, which is one of Xi’an’s principal tourist attractions.

Live Tracking : www.silkwayrally.com/live-timing.html

Peugeot DKR keeps pushing with two days to go on Silk Way Rally

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE – 20/07/2017

    • With just two days to go, Cyril Despres/David Castera keep fighting to maintain their healthy 45-minute overall lead over their closest pursuers on the Silk Way Rally, with teammates Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret watching their backs carefully.
    • The leading duo aboard the Peugeot DKR #100 had a scare on today’s 12th stage, when they got stuck on a sand dune and, a couple of kilometres later, lost power steering, meaning they were classified eighth-fastest on the stage. This cost them 20m30s on the stage but only 11m to their closest pursuer in second place overall. The Peugeot DKR #106 driven by Stephane Peterhansel was able to offer assistance, limiting the time loss on the stage, and was classified 10th on the stage. Another example of great team work, with team spirit high in the final push to the finish.
    • Tonight at the bivouac, the Team Peugeot Total mechanic crew will take extra care of the cars while the drivers will get some deserved rest, gather their strength and focus on another extremely tricky day over complex sand dunes tomorrow.

Just as a reminder that the Silk Way Rally isn’t over until the very end, Cyril Despres had a scare today when his leading Peugeot DKR became stuck on the summit of one of the many sand dunes in the second half of the stage. He removed the car using the jack, but the situation was further complicated when he had a problem with the power steering, meaning that he had to continue with no hydraulic assistance. In a perfect example of teamwork, Stephane Peterhansel had waited for him after the start so that they could drive the stage in convoy and solve any possible problems together. This turned out to be very good planning, as they were able to extract Cyril’s car and to continue to the finish with no further problems despite the power steering issue.


Bruno FAMIN, Peugeot Sport Director

“While it’s not of any big concern in the overall picture, today’s incident showed that anything can still happen on this rally. Although Cyril dropped close to 20 minutes on the stage, he only dropped 11 minutes to the secondplaced driver, as there were problems behind him as well. Obviously it was good that Stephane was running just behind Cyril, which shows our great team spirit: as well as the practical help that he can offer, it’s also psychologically comforting when you’re leading to know that your team mate is close by. From our point of view, we need to figure out why Cyril experienced a power steering failure too: he has sore arms and hands now, but the car was able to keep going and he will be fine for tomorrow after a good rest.”

Cyril DESPRES, Pilote Team Peugeot Total Driver
8 th of stage 12 (cars) / 1st overal
“It’s never over, is it? We had a hydraulic leak that meant that our jacks and power steering didn’t work when we got stuck. Normally we would have lost only a minute or so but we stopped and tried to fix it. All four of us – myself, David, Stephane and Jean-Paul – worked hard to find a solution but in the end we didn’t manage to: it’s not so easy in the middle of the desert. There were around 45 kilometres of dunes left to go and our only option was then just to drive to the finish. The car weighs around a tonne and a half, so driving it without power steering is far from easy. My arms and hands are sore but I’m very happy to be here now. And I already know that the Team Peugeot Total mechanics have a solution for this problem. It was really stressful as I knew that if we had another problem we could be stuck for hours. Honestly, it was one of the toughest days of my whole career. I’m looking forward to starting on a clean page tomorrow.”


Stéphane PETERHANSEL, Pilote Team Peugeot Total Driver

10th of stage 12 / 6 th overall (cars)
“Everything was going well until Cyril got stuck on top of a dune. We stopped to help him and it wouldn’t have been a big problem, but I think the thing is that during the process of using the jack, which runs off the same hydraulic system as the power steering, the power steering somehow got damaged. And then, if you have no power steering in one of these cars, it’s a big problem. So, we stayed behind him to make sure that he got through last 50 kilometres of the stage with no more problems. I am happy to help make sure a Peugeot will reach Xi’an on top. Apart from that, it was a very beautiful stage, typical of those I really like in rally raid.”

TOMORROW: STAGE 13
The penultimate leg of the Silk Way Rally, from Alxa Youqi to Zhongwei, could provide the sting in the tail, as it’s known as ‘the Cathedral of Dunes’. The special stage distance of 318.66 kilometres is split into two sections, with tricky navigation and technical dunes. The crews won’t get the chance to admire the scenery, but it’s also one of the most picturesque days of the whole rally.

DID YOU KNOW ?
The Silk Way was originally a network of trading routes connecting Asia to Europe, named because of the silk (and horse) trading that took place along it. The route has its origins in around 250 BC and was extremely important for international trade.

Live Tracking : www.silkwayrally.com/live-timing.html

Peugeot claims sixth one-two stage finish at Silk Way Rally today

PRESS RELEASE – 07/19/2017

    • After stage 11 of the Silk Way Rally, Cyril Despres has gained few more minutes on his overall lead of the Silk Way Rally while his team mate Stephane Peterhansel won the stage. Despres was second, making it another one-two finish for the Peugeot DKR and the ninth stage victory from 11 days of competition.
    • Both the Peugeots ran reliably today again, at speeds of up to 190kph, in a varied mixture of race conditions including dusty tracks in wide canyon scenery. After already completing 7442 kilometers with no mechanical issues, Peugeot Sport’s engineers are gathering vital information to be used on next year’s Dakar.
    • The Silk Way Rally is now approaching its closing stages with only three days of action left to go. However, the stages coming up are among the most complex and challenging of the entire rally.

Another successful day for Team Peugeot Total at the Silk Way Rally, an event that the ‘Dream Team’ has led from the very first day. The team is much in preservation mode, as Cyril Despres has a lead that is close to an hour and is potentially just three days away from victory. Aboard the Peugeot DKR #100, he adopted a careful rhythm today to conclude the stage just over a minute behind his team mate Stephane Peterhansel (in the Peugeot DKR #106), who won the stage and retains sixth overall in the standings, having lost time with an accident last week. With 1890.66 kilometres left to run, team spirit is running high.

 

Stéphane PETERHANSEL, Pilote Team Peugeot Total  Driver
1st of stage 11 / 6 th overall (cars)
“Today’s stage was fine but really one of two halves for us: at the beginning we had some dust and then we were able to pass some cars and run in clean air for the second part of the stage, which was obviously much easier. The final 50 kilometres were really fun: wide gravel tracks with a little bank on either side so you could really slide the car and enjoy yourself. Tomorrow works out quite well for us strategically. With Cyril starting only two minutes behind us, we won’t have to wait long for him to catch up and then we can drive together, which is always better in this situation, where he is leading.”

Cyril DESPRES, Pilote Team Peugeot Total Driver
2nd of stage 11 / 1 st overall
“I took it fairly carefully today. As it has been the case for a couple of days now, we had a few corners in succession and a few junctions but there was nothing too tricky or rough or dangerous. So, it was a good stage that we were able to cover quite quickly, with no navigation errors. I feel reasonably relaxed and everything is going well up to now. I’m really enjoying the driving with the Peugeot DKR, we’re able to attack and the notes are coming naturally. We just have to carry on like this.”

TOMORROW: STAGE 12
Tomorrow’s stage, which is 254 kilometres in length, is far from the longest but almost certainly one of the hardest of the entire rally. There are complex sand dunes at both the beginning and the end of the stage, where it’s easy to get stuck. Linking the two sandy sections is a fast gravel road. These classic rally raid conditions call for extreme skill from both driver and co-driver. Starting the day in Jiayuguan, the crews will end up in Alashan Youqi.

DID YOU KNOW?
In order to help tackle the sand dunes, the crew can control tyre pressures from the cockpit of the Peugeot DKR. By lowering the pressures, the tyre presents more surface area to the ground and increases traction: particularly useful on obstacles such as sand dunes. Then, when running normally, the tyre can be re-inflated from the cockpit to standard pressures.

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Peugeot Team spirit is high as Despres consolidates Silk Way Rally Leadership

PRESS RELEASE – 07/18/2017

    • After the dramas of yesterday, today’s stage was much more straightforward for Team Peugeot Total, with the two remaining cars making it safely through to the finish despite dropping time in the final part of the stage with a slight navigational error.
    • Cyril Despres / David Castera on Peugeot DKR #100 extend their overall lead today, despite driving with a bit in reserve in order not to take too many risks. They classified 4th on the stage but still gained few minutes in the overall timetable.
    • Stephane Peterhansel / Jean Paul Cottret aboard Peugeot DKR #106 parked immediately after the start in order to wait the 8 minutes for their team mate to arrive. They then drive close to them during the stage, to be in a position to offer any assistance if needed. They have now climbed back to sixth overall.

After yesterday’s drama, the priority for the two remaining Peugeot DKRs was to get through today’s leg from Hami to Dunhuang safely. And they both managed to do exactly that. While the 360.2-kilometre stage was anything but easy, some slick team work meant that Cyril Despres could attack safe in the knowledge that his team mate was close by to help should anything go wrong. As a result, Despres has now increased his lead to 47 minutes as the rally goes into the final four days.

Cyril DESPRES, Pilote Team Peugeot Total Driver
 4th of stage 10 / 1st overall
“It’s always interesting to start a race in a different context, the context of being leader. Yesterday was all about trying not to make a mistake to keep our place in the top two, today we started in front. The pace was not exceptional, just trying to warm up the engine and the car gradually, but it was a more enjoyable drive than yesterday. We overtook a few local drivers and then 40 kilometres from the finish line we made a small navigational mistake and went back on ourselves, missing five kilometres of road book. Luckily we managed to remember a blue house, which was a good reference point: there are not many of those in China! We miss the podium due to this error but now our goal is to keep heading safe to Xi’an, and above all not damage the car.”


Stéphane PETERHANSEL, Pilote Team Peugeot Total Driver

8th of stage 10 / 6 th overall (cars)
“I didn’t see too much of the stage as I was in the dust for a lot of the time, especially at the beginning. I started first on the road and then waited for Cyril who was fifth. I slotted in behind Cyril and then he began to catch up the cars that I had let go past. He overtook them one by one and then we were first and second on the stage, which was better as we were able to run in clearer air with less dust. We both got a bit lost at the end but nothing too serious. In general, the stage conditions were much better than yesterday.”

TOMORROW: STAGE 11
Tomorrow was originally scheduled to be the longest stage of the rally as the crews travel from Dunhuang to Jiayuguan. However, the first part of the stage (comprising 251 kilometres) has been cancelled, leaving ‘only’ the second 237-kilometre section. This features wide and sandy tracks as well as some picturesque scenery between canyons.

DID YOU KNOW ?
Dunhuang is famous for the Dunhuang Mogao Caves, which were originally dug out of the cliff face as a place of Buddhist contemplation for hermit monks. These contain some of the finest Buddhist artworks, manuscripts and murals in the world, spanning a period of about 1000 years. It’s also where an astrological map was found for the first time. In 1987, the caves became a UNESCO World Heritage Site; from 1988 to 1995 a further 248 caves were discovered, in addition to the 487 already known about.

Live Tracking : www.silkwayrally.com/live-timing.html

Loeb out of the Silk Way Rally early end to a very impressive debut for the Peugeot DKR MAXI

NEWS FLASH – 07/17/2017

    • Sébastien Loeb has been forced to retire from the Silk Way Rally after crashing the Peugeot DKR Maxi out of the lead on the ninth stage.
    • Sébastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena crashed at kilometre 82 when they hit a drain just to the right of a river bed, which tripped them over and badly damaged the front of the car. After making some repairs before stopping on two further occasions, they eventually stopped contesting the stage after CP2 and instead took an asphalt road to the bivouac.

    • There, Peugeot Sport engineers assessed the damage to the Peugeot DKR Maxi and determined that it would in fact be possible for it to be repaired. But Sébastien Loeb has severely sprained his left index finger during the crash, and would not be able to continue racing as he cannot hold the steering wheel effectively anymore.
    • The decision to retire has been taken on medical advice, to allow Sébastien Loeb to recover properly and take the next important steps in his season, in particular his rallycross campaign with Team Peugeot Hansen.

Sébastien Loeb, Pilote Team Peugeot Total  driver

“There was hole that I didn’t see, so we hit the inside, and we broke some parts on the front of the car. We made few stops to repair the car to be able to continue, and eventually needed the help of the assistance truck. We couldn’t finish the stage because the night was coming. It was a long day. I have a sprained finger, and I do not feel that great. So I am not able to continue driving as I can’t actually hold the steering wheel properly anymore. I know though that Team Peugeot Total would have been able to fix the car. Once again I had a really good feeling with the Peugeot DKR Maxi, which is performing well, and I am sure that this is the car we need to tackle the Dakar next year.”

Live Tracking : www.silkwayrally.com/live-timing.html

Stage victory for Peterhansel, Despres new Silk Way Rally leader after Loeb hits trouble

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE – 17/07/2017

    • After a brief ‘day off’ in Urumqi, China, yesterday, the Peugeot Dream Team aboard the Peugeot DKR and Peugeot DKR Maxi made their return to competitive action on the Silk Way Rally today. Stage nine proved to be a tough one to kick off the second week: four hours of intense racing with the 50 first kilometres run on sand and then the next 370 kilometres taking place over rough terrain.
    • Stephane Peterhansel took an impressive stage victory but Sebastien Loeb crashed at kilometre 82. Cyril Despres has taken the lead of the Silk Way Rally and is now 44 minutes ahead of his closest pursuer after finishing fifth on the stage. Peugeot claimed its eighth win from nine stages and maintained the overall lead, having gone to the top right from the first day.
    • The Team Peugeot Total mechanics expect extensive damage to the front of Loeb’s Peugeot DKR Maxi, which is struggling to complete the leg. The technical crew is now waiting for Loeb to reach the service park at the Hami bivouac to examine the car carefully and see if effective repairs can be carried out.


There was drama for Team Peugeot Total on the ninth stage of the Silk Way Rally as Sebastien Loeb crashed out of the lead while holding an advantage of more than an hour in the Peugeot DKR Maxi. The day had already got off to a difficult start when a wrong timing plan for the road section meant that the entire field began the 421-kilometre stage 40 minutes late. When Loeb’s accident happened, he was running parallel to the dry river bed that formed the main part of the route, as the surface of it was extremely rough and cut up. Unfortunately, Loeb hit a drain just to the right of the river bed at kilometre 82, which tripped him over and badly damaged the front of the car. Eventually, Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena were able to repair the car to the point where it could be driven, but the fix took any hour and a half. With the chassis and cockpit cell badly affected, the French duo had to stop again at kilometre 172. At the time of writing, they had yet to complete the stage. Whatever happens, this means that Cyril Despres has taken the lead of the event that he won last year. There were no major problems for him or his team mate Stephane Peterhansel throughout today’s action, which was characterized by both sand and rocky roads. Peterhansel was the stage winner as he continues his fightback up the leaderboard in seventh position overall.

 

Bruno FAMIN, Peugeot Sport Director
“At the moment, we don’t know much about the situation with Seb apart from the fact that he still has a long way to go and that the car is very damaged. It’s only once he’s back in the bivouac that we’ll be able to carry out a full assessment. In any case, what’s happened is just part of the competition; exactly the sort of thing that can occur on a rally as challenging as this one. Looking on the positive side, we still have a Peugeot in front thanks to Cyril and another stage win thanks to Stephane. We’ve seen that anything can happen though and with just one car out in front, it’s going to feel like a very long way to the end in Xi’an. The stages this week are particularly tough, so I wouldn’t like to make any predictions.”

 

Cyril DESPRES, Pilote Team Peugeot Total Driver
5 th of stage 9 / 1st overall
“It was a really rough stage in every sense of the word, with drainage ditches, bumps, broken up river beds…really everything. We got shaken around a lot, and when we saw what it was like we decided that there was no point in taking any risks. It’s also difficult to stay focused when you see your teammates hitting troubles. We still had a good pace and we were up there, although we also got slightly lost at one point and actually met Stephane while we were trying to get back. Now we’re in the lead, but it’s not going to change our approach too much, we just have to keep on driving sensibly.”

 

Stéphane PETERHANSEL, Pilote Team Peugeot Total Driver
1 st of stage 9 / 7 th overall (cars)
“Today was completely different to what we had in the first part of the rally; there was lots of off-road driving away from the tracks; not quite like the rallies in Africa but with the same sort of typical traps that can catch you out in a similar way. It’s a real shame what happened to Seb, he paid a heavy price, but that’s rally raid for you. Now I have to concentrate on trying to help Cyril to win and sticking close to him. It’s strange: you can start off with three cars that are strong but now there’s only one left in contention; that’s absolutely normal in this sport.”

 

TOMORROW: STAGE 10
Tomorrow the drivers make their way from Hami to Dunhuang, covering 517 kilometres throughout the leg, via a 360-kilometre stage. The start of the stage is extremely fast, then the route becomes slower and more technical, with several changes in direction. The navigation is very difficult towards the end of the stage, which runs alongside a salt lake.

DID YOU KNOW?
A dry river bed, such as the one close to where Loeb had his accident, is known in the world of cross country rallying as a ‘oued’. This is an Arabic word that means the bed of a dry river, which gets filled up with water during the rainy season. Often a ‘oued’ has been formed naturally by flood water cutting into the earth, and big drainage channels stem off it: one of these is what Loeb unfortunately hit.

Live Tracking : www.silkwayrally.com/live-timing.html