The Peugeot Rally Academy, 2nd year

The Peugeot Rally Academy, which was created in 2013 with a programme founded on the FIA European Rally Championship, is looking forward to its second season of competition in 2014. Designed to provide a framework for the promotion of talented drivers and models like the 208 T16 and 208 R2, this year’s Peugeot Rally Academy line-up will once again feature three youngsters, namely Irishman Craig Breen, Dutchman Kevin Abbring and Frenchman Stéphane Lefebvre. The Peugeot Rally Academy’s 2014 programme will kick off in Latvia at the end of January.

source: Peugeot Sport

Building up to the 208 T16’s debut

Peugeot Sport’s eagerly-awaited new spearhead is currently undergoing final fine-tuning adjustments ahead of its homologation on March 1. Cars are being assembled concurrently in order for delivery to early customers to begin in the weeks ahead. Craig Breen and Kevin Abbring will both drive a 208 T16 in this year’s de FIA ERC in which their twofold mission will be to win events and continue to showcase their respective skills.

As in 2013, Craig Breen will contest eight rounds of the FIA-ERC, beginning with the Rally Liepaja (Latvia) in a 207S2000 before the 208T16’s competition debut on the Acropolis Rally (Greece). His co-driver for the season is Scott Martin.

Meanwhile, Kevin Abbring takes over from Jérémi Ancian in the Peugeot Rally Academy squad. Thanks to his victory in last year’s 208 Rally Cup France, and despite his young age, the 24-year old Dutchman has already carved out an international reputation for himself and his name was frequently cited in the same breath as that of Mikkelsen in 2012! His first outing with the Peugeot Rally Academy will be the Acropolis Rally (Greece) and all his six appearances will be in the 208 T16.

Stéphane Lefebvre: raw talent…
The youngest member of the team is Stéphane Lefebvre who will soon turn 22. He joined the Peugeot Rally Academy in 2013 thanks to his success in the ‘Junior’ classification of the previous year’s Volant 207 and he demonstrated an uncanny ability to adapt on every one of the four events he contested with the team. With co-driver Thomas Dubois sitting alongside, he produced front-running performances in the 208 R2 on snow, dirt and asphalt to boost his international reputation. At the same time, the youngster from northern France took part in the 208 Rally Cup France once again in an attempt to defend his berth with the Peugeot Rally Academy. Although beaten at the final round by Kevin Abbring, he still won the Junior prize again to earn a programme similar to the one he enjoyed in 2013, namely four rounds of the FIA ERC in a 208R2. The prospect of a European Junior title opens up new perspectives for him!

As in 2013, the cars of the three Peugeot Rally Academy crews will be run by Saintéloc Racing.

Bruno Famin, Director, Peugeot Sport
“On paper, we’ve got a great deal in our favour. We’ve got three strong crews and cars capable of fighting at the sharp end. That said, as we saw last year, the quality of the European Championship organised by Eurosport Events is extremely high. Both our drivers and our car can expect fierce opposition in the R5 class. In addition to the mission of the Peugeot Rally Academy to win events with the T16 and R2 versions of the 208, we will continue to work with our customers who are becoming increasingly involved in the ERC. They will benefit from the same data as the Peugeot Rally Academy crews. I think we can look forward to a very interesting season.”

Peugeot Rally Academy, calendar 2014

January 31-February 2: Latvia, C. Breen (207 S2000) and S. Lefebvre (208R2)
March 28-30: Acropolis (Greece): C. Breen (208T16) and K. Abbring (208 T16)
April 17-19: Ireland, C. Breen (208T16) and K. Abbring (208 T16)
May 15-17: Acores (Portugal), C. Breen (208T16), K. Abbring (208 T16) and S. Lefebvre (208R2)
June 19-21: Ypres (Belgium), C. Breen (208T16), K. Abbring (208 T16) and S. Lefebvre (208R2)
August 29-31: Barum (Czech Republic), C. Breen (208T16) and K. Abbring (208 T16)
October 23-25: Valais (Switzerland), C. Breen (208T16)
November 6-8: Corsica (France), C. Breen (208T16), K. Abbring (208 T16) and S. Lefebvre (208R2)

Peugeot Rally Academy, 3 drivers.

Craig BREEN – Ireland – 23 years old (born February 2, 1990)
1999-2008: Karting
2008-2014: Rallying (FIA Word Academy winner in 2011, S-WRC champion in 2012)
Peugeot Rally Academy driver since 2013

Kevin ABBRING – Netherlands – 24 years old (born January 20, 1989)
2005-2006: Rallycross (Dutch Ford RST Series champion)
2007-2014: Rallying (208 Rally Cup France champion in 2013)
Selected to join the Peugeot Rally Academy in 2014 thanks to his 208 Rally Cup France title.

Stéphane LEFEBVRE – France – 21 years old (born March 16, 1992)
2007-2009: Karting
2010-2014: Rallying (208 Rally Cup France runner-up and best Junior in 2012 and 2013)
Peugeot Rally Academy driver since 2013 thanks to his two 208 Rally Cup France ‘Junior’ titles.
Member of the FFSA Equipe de France rally line-up in 2013/2014.