The tandem of Cyril Despres and David Castera onboard the 104 Peugeot 2008 DKR have won the 2016 Silk Way Rally. Their victory comes in the wake of the success of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret on January’s Dakar and on last September’s China Grand Rally, and provides further evidence of the Peugeot 2008 DKR’s performance and reliability. It also rewards the hard work put it by everyone at Peugeot Sport over the past two years. The team’s solidarity and team sprit are hallmarks of both the team and the crews, as they showed once again over the 10,000 kilometers between Moscow and Beijing.
From start to finish, the Peugeot 2008 DKR delivered a combination of performance and impeccable reliability. None of the three cars suffered any technical problems of note in the course of the punishing 10,000-kilometer marathon.
As Despres and Caster they lined up for the start of the Silk Way Rally’s 14th leg, the tandem guessed it would be one of the longest days they have ever experienced in the course of their competitive careers on four wheels. The day’s menu included a 261-kilometer stage that they needed to complete without making any mistakes, but at a good pace without pushing their mechanicals too hard. Despite a scare towards the end, and a minor alert that Jean Paul Cottret (No. 100 co-driver) soon cured, they posted the day’s sixth-fastest time to seal the win on only their fourth outing on four wheels.
Sabastien Loen and Daniel Elena concluded the Silk Way Rally with their 10th top-three stage time. Their consistency and ability to learn as the event progressed allowed the nine-time world rally champions to demonstrate that their new cross-country rally career is going from strength to strength, despite a navigational error three days from the end which relegated them to seventh overall.
Meanwhile, after seeing their bid for victory end when they rolled on Leg 5, Peterhansel and Cottret Stéphane provided invaluable rear-guard assistance and flawless solidarity to the finish, helping the No. 102 and No. 104 Peugeots on several occasions. They felt comfortable in their role and admitted that the fortnight had been tremendous fun and given them a completely fresh take on the sport.
After the race, Team Peugeot Total Director, Peugeot Sport Bruno Famin said, “This team exudes team spirit, in every area. The most visible examples on this event were the way the three crews helped each other out, and then when everyone in the team pitched in to rebuild Stéphane and Jean-Paul’s car. We are naturally very pleased to have won this extremely difficult rally which enabled us to showcase the quality of the Peugeot 2008 DKR. As the small number of incidents we had to report suggests, it now forms a matured package. Our objective was to gain more experience with the car and the crews, to reach Beijing with all three cars and win. We succeeded in ticking all those boxes!”
Cyril Despres for his part said, “Winning is an incredible, fantastic feeling and it still hasn’t really sunk in. It’s the first time I’ve won a rally with David. We have learnt so much since the start in Moscow! We were fastest on almost one stage in two, we have grown in confidence and we had tremendous fun. Peugeot Sport did a super job and I would like to thank them all for that. The car was brilliant. I really like competing on four wheels now!”