Daniel Elena (left) and Sébastien Loeb (right) will reunite for the Dakar Rally
The nine-time WRC title winner has already tested the Peugeot 2008 DKR
Loeb hopes he can locate his Peugeot 2008 DKR in time for this year's event...
Sébastien Loeb will tackle the gruelling Dakar Rally for the first time in a Peugeot 2008 DKR in January 2016.
The Frenchman, a nine-time winner of the World Rally Championship, will be navigated by Daniel Elena, with whom he claimed all of his WRC successes.
Loeb and Elena will join a strong Team Peugeot Total line-up that also includes Carlos Sainz, Stéphane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres.
This year’s Dakar crosses Argentina and Bolivia over 13 days. Loeb had tested the 2008 DKR in Morocco in June, and he will return to the country to compete in the next round of the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, the Rallye du Maroc, on 3-9 October.
In Morocco, Sainz will drive the latest Peugeot 2008 DKR16 whereas Loeb will drive a 2015-specification car.
Loeb, who has been competing with Citroen in the World Touring Car Championship this season, said: “The Dakar is completely different from the racing I’m doing at the moment. It will be very long, more than two weeks, and you need to have the endurance to look after the driver and the car. It’s another approach to racing but I’ll discover that in January.”
“When I tried the Peugeot 2008 DKR out in June, it was immediately very impressive for me – and of course it has changed a lot since then.
“What struck me most of all is how the Dakar car was a completely new experience: in the WRC I have been used to going round obstacles but with this car you can just drive straight over them, and it takes some time to have the confidence to believe it. “I’ve also been used to having very detailed pace notes: in Cross Country, you have to find the road for yourself and improvise your route.
"And this is actually the first time I have driven any type of diesel car in competition too. So there is a lot for me to learn, but I am eager to find out more.”
Now 41, Loeb is arguably the greatest all-rounder in the modern sport, having competed with success in rallying, touring cars, sportscars and specialised events such as the Pikes Peak hill climb.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: