The 2017 Dakar Rally saw Peugeot Sport and BFGoodrich® monopolise the podium at the two-week event’s finish in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Saturday, January 14.
It was the ideal result to mark the off-road tyre brand’s return to the world’s most famous cross-country rally after a four-year absence. Like the rest of the field, the winners Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret had to contend with a gruelling cocktail of complex navigation, tough off-road driving and appalling weather.
However, the conditions only served to reveal the reliability and performance of their BFGoodrich® tyres which provided competitors with a dependable ally throughout the highly varied, 8,786km run through Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia.
The highly-varied challenge also included big temperature fluctuations, sharp stones and rocks, and low-grip soft ground that pushed both the crews and their tyres to the limit.
Multiple Dakar winner Marc Coma, today the rally’s Sporting Director, announced before thestart that navigation promised to be a decisive factor on this year’s event. Co-drivers were effectively kept on their toes continuously by the lack of visual landmarks, the frequent off-road sections and a new, harder type of Way Point that was used for the first time this year.
After the start of the event in stifling heat in Paraguay, competitors climbed to altitudes of almost 5,000km and remained at more than 3,600km for practically a week as the route moved into Bolivia where the caravan was greeted by torrential downpours. The heavy rain made many places impracticable and led to several landslides, the biggest of which occurred near the village of Volcan in Jujuy province, Argentina. Stages 6 and 9 were cancelled altogether, while the organisers were compelled to modify certain other competitive sections. Crews had to be on their guard from start to finish, but they were able to count on their BFGoodrich® tyres to see them over the rough, slippery terrain and more delicate portions.
“This year more than ever, the extreme difficulties that are part and parcel of the Dakar Rally allowed us to showcase the performance and strength of our BFGoodrich® tyres which are accustomed to dealing with the elements, especially on the highly demanding Baja races on which they compete in North America,” noted Michelin Motorsport Director Pascal Couasnon.
“The Dakar’s organisers and the poor weather provided us with a particularly tough menu this year! The difficulties competitors had to cope with over the two weeks allowed them to appreciate the many qualities of their BFGoodrich® tyres.
“Congratulations to Peugeot Sport on their one-two-three finish and I would also like to underline the runs produced by Toyota Gazoo Racing and Mini,” added Pascal Couasnon.
“The BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR delivered strong performance on the latter’s four-wheel drive cars and allowed the Hi-Lux pick-ups and Minis to challenge the Peugeot 3008DKRs on practically every stage.”
Said the victor Stéphane Peterhansel: “This year’s result was superb for Peugeot, and it was great to be able drive the 3008DKR. It is an exceptional car. The outcome was in the balance all the way to the end and we fought hard with our team-mate Sébastien Loeb to the flag. It was quite stressful but we had tremendous fun driving. Our BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR2 tyres rose to the occasion perfectly.”
BFGoodrich® provided three different types of tyre for competitors on the 2017 Dakar Rally
The BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR2 (37x12.5-17): for cross-country rallying
This tyre’s characteristics are similar to those of the BFGoodrich® Baja T/A KR2, but with a sportier profile. Developed specifically for two-wheel drive cars, it provides excellent lateral grip on all types of surface, plus outstanding driveability and stability under braking.
The BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR2 was used on the Peugeot 3008 DKRs.
The BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR (245/80R16): for four-wheel drive cars
The BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR is similar to the KDR2 and was engineered to shrug off the punishment dished out by the Dakar’s notoriously gruelling stages. This was achieved thanks to a strong but flexible casing that is capable of running at speed with low air pressures, yet still deliver optimal traction. The BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR equips four-wheel drive vehicles such as those that were fielded on the 2017 Dakar Rally by Toyota/Overdrive, Mini XRaid and Mini ALL4.
The BFGoodrich® Baja T/A KR2 (37/12.5-17): for two-wheel drive buggies
This recently-designed tyre features a number of specific solutions. Its tread blocks are designed to optimise traction on soft ground and to deliver balanced braking, while its flexible construction ensures an optimised contact patch when running with low air pressures. Its reinforced bead areas protect against side wall damage. The BFGoodrich® Baja T/A KR2 is a particularly versatile solution for the unique technical characteristics associated with buggies.