Sandblaster: New Peugeot 3008 DKR gears up for 2017 Dakar rally

Competition is said to improve the breed; Peugeot is taking that to the extreme with its 3008-based Dakar rally entry

The 3008’s drastic makeover is set to add some glamour to Peugeot dealers across the country, but its transformation extends beyond your local forecourt. Peugeot Sport has applied the new SUV’s winning recipe to its 2017 Dakar rally raider: the 3008 DKR.

We first saw the 3008 DKR at the 2016 Paris Motor Show alongside its conventional counterpart, but the pictures above show how it will look with its official livery when it’s rocketing across 9,000km of rough South American terrain in the Dakar rally.

You certainly won’t miss the striking red, yellow and blue colour scheme, courtesy of Peugeot’s racing partners Total, Red Bull, Sparco and BFGoodrich, but all of that is draped over a body that carries across as much of the standard 3008 SUV’s striking design as possible. Sebastien Criquet, senior exterior designer and the man who penned the 3008’s sharp look, says that the DKR is “the most extreme version” of the latest SUV.

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Before we get into technical details, it’s worth pointing out that the new 3008 DKR has some big shoes to fill; Peugeot dominated the 2016 Dakar raid with its 2008 DKR, with nine stage wins from the likes of Sebastien Loeb, Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel. In fact, the 2008’s overall victory was the first for a two-wheel-drive car in 15 years.

The new desert raider uses a 3.0-litre twin-turbodiesel V6 producing 340bhp and 800Nm of torque – enough to keep that lightweight carbon fibre chassis hurtling towards its 124mph top speed. A new restrictor on the engine as part of 2017 Dakar regulations means it’s around 20bhp down on the 2008 DKR, but maximum power kicks in earlier and could mean that the 3008 DKR is even faster where it matters than its predecessor. 

It also sticks with two-wheel drive; Peugeot wants to prove 2016’s win wasn’t a fluke, and that you don’t need four driven wheels to tackle some of the planet’s most inhospitable climates.

Another crucial tweak is to the suspension. Without a state-of-the-art set-up, the 3008 DKR will be left floundering on the leaderboard, so its geometry and dampers have been refined and a test programme taking in the gruelling 15-day Silk Way Rally should mean the car can tackle the worst of the Dakar. 

Reliability and driveability have also been worked on. “Our goal was to take the weaker points of the existing car and make them stronger,” said Peugeot Sport’s team director Bruno Famin, “capitalising on all the existing strengths to improve them still further.”

Peugeot Sport engineers strengthened and refined the chassis and fine-tuned the electrical systems to make sure the DKR monster remains infallible on any terrain. The air-con has had an overhaul, as it must cool drivers for up to 12 hours as temperatures outside pass 60 degrees Celsius.

For 2017, the event twists through Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. Peugeot is eyeing its sixth Dakar win, and the 3008 DKR is a good bet for glory.

What do you think of the new Peugeot 3008 DKR? Let us know in the comments below...

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