Peugeot’s love affair with rallying dates back quite some time. World championship eras and a long standing development series that has helped more than a few future stars hone their skills.
And, today, the adventure continues…after seven successful years of service, the 206 XS has given way to the all new 207 RC Rally version.
Project chief, Bertrand Vallat, who is also the man responsible for the 207 Super 2000, had an all together different set of specs to respect this time.
ITW : Bertrand VALLATE
«We began by exploiting, as much as we could, all the qualities of the 207RC and then evolved all the elements needed to be competitive in rallying. The 1.6-litre THP engine has a lot of torque and it is relatively powerful for a development series developing 180 brake horsepower. It has a lot of torque, a very wide power band, which pardons mistakes. It is easy to dose and is totally stock.”
Peugeot works driver, Stéphane Sarrazin was given the chore of testing this latest bit of rally wonderment. And whether you are behind the wheel or watching from along the test circuit you can’t help but be impressed with the package. And no one is more enthusiastic then the driver, himself.
ITW: Stéphane SARRAZINE
«The car is easy to drive. The front end is very precise, which is good because you know exactly where the wheels are pointed and you’re never left wondering if you have grip or not. You can fell everything that is going on, which is ideal for rallying. It is well balanced, the chassis is good, it has power, torque, and the gearbox is quick and easy. I think, eventually, the car will be very fast.”
The mix of asphalt and gravel events is another particularity of the Peugeot rally development series and, the good news, is that it will remain as is. To make the switch, the shock and springs have to be changed as do the front brakes, some body bits and switch to 15-inch wheels…and all of this is done in less than two hours.
In this configuration, the 207’s efficiency shines again. And you’ll have to change the way you drive the RC Rally and especially not try to dose the accelerator but smash down hard on with your right foot. With no prior gravel experience but with pointers from Stéphane Sarrazin, you can soon point the car where you want it to go.
One thing is sure, this car is fast right out of the box. The competitors in the 207 series will have all they need to amuse themselves. And the top among them will be able to compete for top times in all the different categories.
But before heading into the fray, they will have to install the kit, which includes a welded roll cage, a dog ring gearbox, the purpose built electronic circuitry and gearbox as well as Peugeot Sport shocks and brakes and then you’ll be ready for a maximum attack of the 2009 season.