PEUGEOT SPORT CUSTOMER COMPETITION ACTIVITIES IN THE SPOTLIGHT In parallel to its works endurance racing programme, Peugeot Sport will continue to develop and offer a wide range of competition vehicles aimed at experienced drivers, amateurs and...
PEUGEOT SPORT CUSTOMER COMPETITION ACTIVITIES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
In parallel to its works endurance racing programme, Peugeot Sport will continue to develop and offer a wide range of competition vehicles aimed at experienced drivers, amateurs and enthusiasts. 2010 will mark the introduction of a host of upgrades and new initiatives...
207 Super 2000
The Peugeot 207 Super 2000 was part of the avant-garde; in the hands of private customers and Peugeot subsidiaries, it has now become the benchmark in its category. Last year, it not only won several national titles, including the French crown, but it also triumphed for the third time in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, claiming both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' titles. The car has shown itself to be a machine of the highest calibre in spite of strong competition from rival manufacturers.
The highest-placed 207 may only have finished third on the 2010 Rallye Monte-Carlo, but it did so with nine fastest times to its name in 15 stages. Peugeot Sport is fine-tuning developments for 2010 that will allow its customers to continue to fight for outright victory.
Since its launch in 2007, 80 cars have been sold. In 2010, a significant number will once again compete in the IRC including, amongst others, entries from Peugeot UK (Kris Meeke) and Peugeot Portugal (Bruno Magalhaes). The 207 will also be present in national championships in Poland, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Madeira, Austria, Finland and France, where Bryan Bouffier will campaign a 207 Super 2000 in the colours of Peugeot France, the Peugeot France Dealer Network, Total and BF Goodrich.
Each of these programmes should ensure that the winning track record of the 207 Super 2000 is extended even further in 2010.
The Volant 207 is the only one-make rally championship that offers a genuine variety of surfaces, with a calendar comprising four gravel events and four tarmac events. Indeed, the 207 RC can be costeffectively adapted to suit every surface. At the end of the season, the most promising driver under 28 years of age will win a drive for the following season. The precise nature of this drive will be decided by a jury composed of two representatives from Peugeot Sport, and one each from Total, BF Goodrich and the FFSA: it could be a season in the 207 RC R3, or in a 207 Super 2000, and in both cases it will be in the colours of Peugeot Sport, including the necessary operating budget. Names like Denis Millet, winner of the 2008 Volant 206, and Germain Bonnefis, the 2009 runner-up, have expressed their interest in entering, while 2010 Rallye Jeunes winner Quentin Gilbert is already confirmed.
Rencontres Peugeot Sport
The Rencontres Peugeot Sport meetings have undoubtedly been the most popular events for competitors in France for more than 30 years. The event comprises four categories, all of which are practically full thanks to, amongst other factors, their unparalleled fun and value for money. The THP Spider Cup has been added to the Rencontres Peugeot Sport bill for the season's six rounds, which include the traditional outing to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in July. Another highlight will be a return to Albi in June.
Endurance racing is represented with two series: the 206 Relay (using the 206 S16) for two or threehour endurance races, and the 207 Relay (using the 207 LW, the lightweight version of the RC) for four to six-hour races. Finally, there are the spectacular sprint races with the 207 THP Cup and the THP Spider Cup; the winner of the latter will, for the fourth time, win a test drive in the 908 HDi FAP at the end of the season.
What conclusions did you draw from the last January's Rallye Monte-Carlo?
Olivier Quesnel: "We obviously weren't pleased with the end result but, at the same time, we don't have anything to be ashamed of. Peugeot drivers set around 75 per cent of the fastest stage times, which proves that the 207 Super 2000 is still competitive. And, whatever else, the Monte remains the Monte, with all its uncertainties. The competition was of a very high standard, with top-quality drivers and closely-matched cars. We want to offer our subsidiaries and customers the best possible equipment in order to put Peugeot back on the top step of the podium, and that means we need to carry on the hard work."
What technical developments have been introduced on the different cars for 2010?
Bruno Famin: "We never stop developing our cars, and we are constantly offering new developments to our customers. With the 207 Super 2000, just like with the 908, the potential for performance development clearly diminishes over time -- but as Olivier Quesnel noted, the 207 was once again easily the strongest performer on the 2010 Rallye Monte-Carlo.
"Of course, the competition is becoming ever more intense and we're working hard in every area to develop the 207 even further in 2010. We're particularly focusing on engine performance, but also on the gearbox in terms of the spacing of the ratios and its reliability. We've also completed a programme on suspension development.
"We're also developing the cars for the single-make series. The major new items for 2010 will focus on improving reliability. It's worth remembering that these cars are run by private enthusiasts, so they must be as easy as possible to run cost effectively. The 207 RC Rallye features a strengthened gearbox, ECU and suspension joints. As for the 207 LW used in the endurance and sprint races at the Rencontres Peugeot Sport meetings, we've enhanced the electronic management."
What are the objectives of your Customer Competition activities in 2010?
Simon Jean-Joseph (Customer Competition Manager for Peugeot Sport): "Peugeot Sport has extensive motor sport experience and we aim to give our customers the full benefit of that knowledge. We have to work closely with them, and listen to their feedback in order to best meet their needs, solve their problems or answer their requests in a professional manner. Promoting and training young talent is also a key value of Peugeot Sport's customer competition programme. Of course, we help young drivers with the different bonuses and awards within the single-make series, which sometimes allow them to climb several rungs of the ladder, as Gregory Guilvert has managed this year. But promotion also means the Rallye Jeunes contest and its most recent winner Quentin Gilbert. We have been partners in this event for many years, and we have now extended that relationship by working more closely with the Lycee Roger Claustres. We therefore now accept and train young apprentice mechanics in the workshops of Peugeot Sport."