Cyril Despres triumphs at the 2016 Silk Way Rally

by Umar Hassan

Cyril Despres and David Castera have won the 2016 Silk Way Rally in the Team Peugeot-Total-run Peugeot 2008 DKR.

The Peugeot 2008 DKR showed immense reliability to complete the 10,000 kilometre marathon from Moscow to Beijing with no technical issues to win with Despres and Castera at the wheel of the #104 2008 DKR.

As the leading Frenchmen lined up for the longest days of their careers on four wheels, Despres and Castera completed Stage 14 despite having a scare at the end to finish the stage in sixth place. This sealed the 2016 Silk Way Rally for Despres and Castera in only their fourth outing on four wheels.

Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena concluded their Silk Way Rally outing by having their tenth top three stage outing in the #102 2008 DKR in second place.

Their consistency throughout the Silk Way has been going from strength-to-strength for the nine-time World Rally Champions. Loeb and Elena did suffer with a navigational error, which relegated them down to seventh place overall in the rally.

The 2016 Dakar Rally-winners Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret have helped the #102 and #104 Peugeot crews. Peterhansel and Cottret have provided assistance and invaluable support on many occasions throughout the Silk Way to finish overall in fifteenth place.

Credit: Peugeot Sport Media

Credit: Peugeot Sport Media

2016 Silk Way Rally-winner Despres 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 the them all for that. The car was brilliant. I really like competing on four wheels now!

Loeb spoke about gaining experience on an event such as the Silk Way. We’ve calmed down and worked a great deal since the Dakar. Now, after the Silk Way Rally, we feel even more positive. We completed a high number of kilometres, which means we spent a great deal of time in the car, driving, coping with problems and working together.

“Along with Daniel, our reflexes and the way we communicate together, the way we coped with the pressure, took care of the car and found our pace have improved no end.

Peterhansel added The PEUGEOT 2008 DKR is really an incredible car. It ran like clockwork and was competitive every day of the event. A big thanks for that to everyone at Peugeot Sport. It was a very interesting rally for us. The terrain was extremely varied and the conditions were very hard at times, include some blistering heat.

“We are disappointed that we weren’t able to challenge for the win but we are delighted for Cyril and David. Cyril stopped competing on motorcycles just two years ago and here he is already winning on four wheels. A great job!

Tomorrow’s final stage, Stage 15 will finish at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium. A 507 kilometre drive awaits the teams and crews as Peugeot’s Cyril Despres and David Castera will get to celebrate on the podium as the 2016 Silk Way Rally winners.

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