It’s the successor to Peugeot’s 207 S2000 rally car and former IRC Rally Champion, Kris Meeke, is hoping his test role with Peugeot will lead to a full-time drive of its 208 T16 later on this season.
Meanwhile, both Meeke and Craig Breen continue the intensive programme of development on tarmac and gravel.
The team have already notched up some 20 days of testing on gravel, and this has enabled its main technical characteristics to be finalised. Now the Peugeot Sport engineers are focusing on the reliability of its chassis, engine, electronics and suspension, before moving on to optimising its set-up.
“The 208 T16 feels very strong,” said Meeke. “I still have no idea of its real potential because I have only driven it on the loose so far, but I can tell you that it has the makings of a great car.”
“We still need to explore a few ideas and it is very exciting to work on a new project such as this, especially as there is no benchmark because we are working to new regulations. I love it when a project gets to this stage. It is extremely interesting to work on a top car from the start and try to make it a winner!”
Peugeot Sport’s objective is to produce a competitive yet durable package, which will enable its customers to target victory on all types of terrain.
“Our aim is to get as many kilometres on the 208 T16’s clock as possible in order to make it the car to beat in the new R5 class,” said Breen.
“We are obviously highly motivated. In everybody’s minds, the name ‘T16’ conjures up images of a car that made an indelible mark on the history of the sport, and our aim is to see history repeat itself!”
Meeke has been without a full-time drive ever since MINI pulled out of the WRC at the end of 2011. He won the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge with Peugeot and starred in a series of award-winning adverts with the brand under the tagline, “He’s Meeke, but he’s not mild”.
* * *