1987: A year to be remembered as the year Peugeot entered the Dakar Rally to start a very successful career in the Dakar rally. In that edition, Ari Vatanen won the rally driving a Peugeot 205 Turbo 16. In the next year, another 205 won the rally, this time driven by Juha Kankkunen. The 405 Ti16 dominated the following two editions, taking Vatanen to the top of podium once more on the shores of the Pink Lake, in Senegal. Then came the decision that Peugeot would quit the Dakar Rally after the 1990 overall victory.
The French constructor eventually returned in 2015 to race the South American Dakar and fight for the win with Mini and Toyota. The 2008DKR they were racing then wasn't able to win the race, the teething problems affected the performance, even because this was a new approach to the rally by Peugeot, with a two-wheel drive car. But success came in the 2016 edition with the renewed 2008DKR and again in 2017 with the 3008DKR, both driven by Stephane Peterhansel.
This week, after a period of rumours and comments came the news in a form of an answer given by Jean-Marc Finot in an interview that Peugeot will quit after the 2018 Dakar. Well, at the moment it is not sure what will happen next, if the structure is to be dismantled, the cars stopped and the drivers and mechanics dismissed.
We’d like to relive history and make a suggestion: could PSA please bring back the other legend, Citroen to cross-country rallies? Remember the 1991 edition of Dakar, when Citroen achieved its first overall victory with Ari Vatanen driving the ZX Rallye Raid. And then 1994, 1995 and 1996 when Pierre Lartigue took his ZX Rallye Raid to the victory in Dakar. We will not even talk in the amazing list of achievements in another cross-country rally races, and where the ZX Baja entered and dominated.
Those were different times, different races, and the rules cannot be compared to what we have today. Even the car market has changed, but after long years where 4x4 and SUV where gradually being sent to the shades, they are finally back, and all constructors have several in their list of products – also Citroen. From an economic point of view, the structure is there, the knowledge and technology, it cannot be too expensive to rebrand the project like back in 1990, and return as Citroen.
The cross-country rally fans (the lucky ones) that saw the ZX in their several evolutions would be delighted to see this return. We really don't know if this has any chance to happen, this text is just our kind suggestion to PSA Motorsport, for sure a very very long shot, but who knows. Probably there could be someone there who is already thinking about the same...
Now we just need to make the same suggestion to the former Mitsubishi team. Any of our readers knows where we can find them?
Text: Rally-Raid Network
Photo: By Klaus Nahr