A week after completing 1,074km of special stages and road sections as ‘zero’ car on the recent Tour de Corse, the new 208 R2 is still in Corsica where it is being put through its paces in asphalt trim until Friday. This test forms part of the 6,000km programme specified in the brief for Peugeot Sport’s latest rally challenger ahead of its first official participation in the Ulster Rally.
The Peugeot 208 R2 sparked considerable interest from the spectators, drivers, teams and organisers throughout last week’s Tour de Corse. It was as big a hit in the service parks as it was on the stages and the newcomer produced a reliable, competitive run despite the summer-like hot weather. The French fixture served as a chance to evaluate the car in full rally trim and it enjoyed a trouble-free run in the expert hands of Stéphane Sarrazin and co-driver Benjamin Veillas.
Peugeot Sport’s test team is now spending this week putting the 208 through its paces on a variety of benchmark stages to the south of Bastia. The five-day programme started yesterday (Monday) and is being supervised by the 208 R2’s Project Leader Yann Goraguer. It is the car’s second asphalt test after a run in France’s Var region a couple of weeks ago. The 2011 ‘Volant 207’ winner Germain Bonnefis has been tasked with carrying out the early part of the work. Yann Goraguer explains why northeast Corsica was chosen for this session: “The chief purpose of this test is to work on the set-up on twisty, high-grip roads. These are the conditions competitors encounter on a high number of European rallies.” The car’s busy testing diary continues with another outing scheduled in eastern France’s Vosges Mountains in three weeks’ time.
A number of drivers have already contributed to the 208 R2’s development on dirt and asphalt, including Stéphane Sarrazin and Craig Breen, winner of the 2011 WRC Academy. Other drivers have been brought in with a view to covering a wide range of driving styles and levels of experience.
Craig Breen: “I am in a position where I can compare the 208 R2 with all the class’s existing cars and it’s got a great deal going for it, I can tell you. It is powerful and its handling is very stable. It is easy to drive and it takes no time at all to feel at home in it. You almost forget it’s a front-wheel drive car…”
Stéphane Sarrazin: “its handling is very precise as you switch from lock to lock and its free-revving 1,600cc engine makes it easy to push hard. It’s a well sorted, nicely balanced rally car. Shifting gear is comfortable and straightforward thanks to the sequential gearbox. The brakes are powerful, too. It’s a super car and a delight to drive.”
The gravel and asphalt versions of the 208 R2 will both be available in kit form (specific 208 R2 parts) for a price of €37.500 (net). This price includes a fully-built engine. It will also be possible to acquire the 208 R2 in fully built form (gravel or asphalt version) for €57.500 (net).
Two kits will be available to convert the asphalt version of the car to gravel trim, or the gravel version of the car to asphalt trim.
Delivery: November 2012, via the Peugeot Sport Racing Shop.
August 17-18 : Ulster Rally (asphalt)
October-November : Gravel and asphalt rallies (Italy, France and Spain)
November : Delivery
November 23-25 : Rallye du Var (asphalt)