Debut of the 307 WRC and investment in youth
After four full World Rally Championship campaigns, including three consecutive years in which it dominated its rivals plus a 2003 season that saw it narrowly miss out on a fourth title, the 206 WRC is to hand over the baton to the 307 WRC in 2004.
With a total score of 24 wins and 41 podiums to its name, the 206 WRC marked rallying history by notching up one of the finest records of the sport's modern era. The new 307 WRC will take over from the beginning of the 2004 season in Monte Carlo, subject to the car's homologation by the FIA which is scheduled for January 1st 2004.
- TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL
Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen and Freddy Loix/Sven Smeets will drive the two 307 WRCs that will be entered for every round of the 2004 World Championship. However, the new FIA regulations allow teams the possibility of switching the crew of the second car and Peugeot Sport may consider using specialist drivers for certain events, in which case a third car will be entered for Freddy Loix.
The primary objective will be to retrieve the Manufacturers' title, while Marcus and Freddy will be free to defend their chances in the Drivers' championship.
- The 307 WRC
Peugeot's new challenger was driven for the first time exactly one year ago. Since then, an intensive test programme has been conducted on both gravel and asphalt. The development of the car has today reached a level that should allow it to defend Peugeot's colours in the face of strong opposition.
- NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ESA
Peugeot Sport is pleased to announce a new partnership contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) based on collaboration in fields of space industry-derived technology, including materials and simulation using ESA-developed software.
- INVESTMENT IN YOUTH
In addition to the official line-up, a number of promising young drivers will also benefit from a World Championship programme at the wheel of 2003-specification 206 WRCs run by Bozian Racing. They are:
* Frenchman Nicolas Vouilloz. Following his success in the French 206 Trophy in 2003 as well as an extremely encouraging one-off outing with a Super 1600 206 in November's Rallye du Var, the 27-year old has signed a two-year contract as works Peugeot driver. The programme of the former Mountain Bike Downhill World Champion kicks off with the forthcoming Monte Carlo Rally and includes a total of six events in 2004, plus eight in 2005.
* The team's second junior will be Sweden's Daniel Carlsson, 27, who finished 3rd in the 2003 FIA Junior World Championship. With support from his sponsor 'Olsberg', he will compete in a minimum of eight rounds this season, starting with the Swedish Rally, second round of the 2004 calendar.
* Peugeot Portugal driver, Miguel Campos, 29, who finished 2nd in the 2003 European Rally Championship, will start at least four events of the 2004 World Championship, beginning with January's Monte Carlo Rally.
A further addition to this list will be Henning Solberg - brother of the 2003 World Champion - if he succeeds in mounting a programme of seven rounds with support from his partners and Peugeot's Swedish importer.