Parker, AZ continues to be a hub for racing activity. A vehicle developed by French car manufacturer Peugeot has been spotted in the town as it undergoes extensive testing ahead of the 2018 Dakar Rally in January.
Peugeot unveiled the 3008 DKR Maxi in July as the next generation of the vehicle that won the 2016 and 2016 Dakar races for the Peugeot team. It is custom designed especially for the legendary international race, and bears a Red Bull wrap.
The Dakar Rally is an off-road endurance race with tough terrain over thousands of kilometers through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. The route is demanding, with long stretches through sand dunes in the Peruvian wilderness.
The Peugeot team has reportedly been based in Parker for several weeks, with a helicopter the most noticeable giveaway last week. The 3008DKR Maxi is two-wheel drive, with an extra 20cm of width over its predecessor for greater stability. The final specs are still to be confirmed as the team irons out the final details by closely monitoring performance metrics in the desert tests. The Silk Way Rally in Russia and China in July was another important test of the vehicle under race conditions.
Sebastien Loeb gave the machine its debut at the Silk Way Rally, while Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres drove current specification 3008DKRs. Carlos Sainz, who has helped develop the new vehicle, will drive the Maxi in January’s Dakar.
Robby Gordon, a Parker regular, skipped last year’s Dakar Rally after competing in the race on many successive occasions in years past. His custom made Dakar vehicle, the Gordini, had performed well for the American team in stages it was expected not to, but Gordon said he had other priorities for 2017, including his Stadium Super Trucks series which continues this year. It is not known whether the Gordini will be back in action in future, but Gordon has been in Parker this summer anyway, testing off-road shocks in July among other things.
The Peugeot team is reportedly picking up and shipping back to France, having concluded this round of desert tests.
The 2018 Dakar Rally will happen January 6th – 20th.