When Group B hit the skids at the end of 1986 and Group A was ushered into the WRC, Peugeot would have no part of it especially as they were still suing FISA for cancelling Group B. They decided to go for real long distance rallies, the new style that was named “Rallye Raid” by the French. They modified their existing 205 T16s and entered Paris-Dakar with Ari Vatanen as the lead driver, now recovered from his accident in Argentina in 1985. He won and so started a four year love affair for Peugeot with that event that was carried on from 1991 by their sister company, Citroën. For the 1988 event, they had two 205 T16s and two 405 T16s of which Vatanen drove one of the latter. By halfway, he was leading comfortably but then during the night, his car was kidnapped and a ransom demanded. A search failed to find it and he missed the re-start. No money was ever paid but the car was eventually discovered on a rubbish tip and Vatanen, though no longer competing, drove it to the end of the rally. He won for the second time in 1989 in a different 405 T16 and then, for the 1990 event, his 1988 car was re-prepared and the original Pioneer colours obliterated by new Camel livery. He went on to take his third win and the car subsequently found its way into the Peugeot museum at Sochaux.
This is Ari Vatanen's car, it's current owner bought the car from Peugeot and has worked hard to sympathetically restore it to working condition. It is still in its Paris-Dakar specification with a gearbox and final drive capable of taking it to over 130mph on the long desert Pistes and with suspension designed for running flat out over the minor rocks that infest them. At the same time, the lower gears have to be able to climb in and out of dry riverbeds while the suspension deals with such things as dunes, “fesh-fesh” and wash-aways.
Engine : four-cylinder, 2ltr, in-line, transversally mounted in the middle of the car, twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, 400 bhp
Induction : Fuel Injected, Normally Aspirated