CHANGE OF DIRECTION
Dakar: Despres leaves his Yamaha for a Peugeot !
Winner of five Dakar with KTM, Cyril Despres spent last winter with the Yamaha Blues. Fourth in the 2014 Dakar rally riding the YZF450, he had to try his luck again in 2015. He will, but at the wheel of a Peugeot Sport 2008 !
By entering last year with Yamaha, Despres had the firm intention of winning a sixth time in the motorcycle category (read). Victim of electrical worries, the n ° 1 did not hide his disappointment by analyzing his fourteenth Dakar (see the).
At the foot of the podium, behind his teammate Olivier Pain, Jordi Viladoms and his best enemy Marc Coma, Cyril was to set off again next year on the handlebars of his YZF450 and once again try to equal the record of victories for a biker in the Dakar, held by another man in blue: Stéphane Peterhansel.
But the Yamaha rider has in the meantime received a tempting proposition: to drive for Peugeot! Of course, this is not for Despres to take control of an unlikely Metropolis "450 Raid" – although, from a purely commercial standpoint, this product would be useful to compete with Gilera’s Fuoco….
Cyril will be behind the wheel of a new 2008 DKR, a car to be discovered at the next Beijing Motor Show (April 20) and which will benefit another motorsport legend, Carlos Sainz … As will Stéphane Peterhansel, if we are to believe it. a source close to the case interviewed by MNC !
Galvanized by its recent victory in the 20 km Pikes Peak, Peugeot Sport has decided to tackle the “10,000 km of the longest and most difficult rally raid in the world!”, Starting next winter, in January 2015, after 25 years of absence.
Can we resist the call of a manufacturer who, in four participations in the Dakar (from 1987 to 1990), won four victories? The one who is nicknamed the "Prince of the desert", answers in the negative…
"Peugeot Sport offered me a pilot position within their new rally-raid project. Such an opportunity with one of the most prestigious car brands only comes once in a career!", Believes Cyril.
"However, and because I had made commitments with Eric de Seynes (former GM of Yamaha Motor France with whom he had signed a two-year contract, Editor’s note), I will endeavor to transmit my know-how to young pilots Yamaha in rally-raid because Peugeot will give me the opportunity to train on a motorbike and to participate in two or three races in the year with Yamaha enduro ", indicates the Peugeot-Yamaha rider !
Fair-play, Éric de Seynes (promoted general manager of operations of Yamaha Motor Europe since, read) recognizes that "one can only respect the interest which carries a big car manufacturer like Peugeot towards a motorcycle pilot like Cyril Despres".
"Of course, we had common ambitions with Cyril Despres who is a great competitor and this opportunity given to him somewhat thwarts our plans", admits the big boss of the Blues, "but our rally team exists, with pilots, assistance professionals, a high-performance bike and victory goals in 2014/2015 ".
Eric de Seynes also underlines that "Cyril will remain in the world of motorcycles, an ambassador for the brand and will provide us with his support to carry out the rally-raid development program". In the manner of a certain Peterhansel, always faithful to the brand with three tuning forks…
Official video: Peugeot back to Dakar 2015
Peugeot questions its new driver
Peugeot sport: You have a successful biker career, including five Dakar victories. Why did you decide to go on four wheels ?
Cyril Despres: The idea came naturally. When you compete in a Dakar on a motorcycle, you find yourself alone on the handlebars for about ten hours and you have time to think. During the last Dakar, I clicked. Luckily, Peugeot and Red Bull offered me this incredible opportunity. I am very proud of it. I didn’t ask myself 36 questions. It’s a dream coming true for me and a new life starting.
Peugeot sport: How do you approach this new challenge ?
C. D .: I am aware that I have a tremendous opportunity to enter the automotive world through the front door, in a team as competitive and professional as Peugeot. I’m not sure I would have taken the plunge for another team. I still have in mind the images of the Peugeot winning the Dakar when I was a child … I can’t wait to get in the car too !
Peugeot sport: Other bikers also won on four wheels (Peterhansel, but also Auriol, NRL). What is your ambition ?
C. D .: My first goal will be to learn and help. In a team like Peugeot and with a teammate like Carlos Sainz, I will be able to improve. It’s motivating. I really want to learn how these cars work and are driven, how to work with a co-driver. Sharing so much time with a browser is going to be a different experience because I used to be alone for fifteen years !
Matthieu BRETILLE – MNC and Builder Photos
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