“I didn't imagine such a fast transition”
In the blur of his childhood memories, Cyril Despres remembers frequently watching the starts and prologues of the Paris-Dakar, and clearly recollects an old truck of Jan De Rooy and the factory Peugeots…, which caught his eye! Much later, the young rider, but already a champion in trial and enduro became the revelation of the rally in 2000 (16th).He then gave himself the means to make an exemplary ascension on the Dakar. After finishing third overall in 2003 and 2004, the Frenchman scored his maiden triumph in 2005. From this point on his relationship with the Dakar was intimately linked to his mano-a-mano with Marc Coma. Wins in 2007 and 2010 added to Despres' collection of trophies. He then put some distance between himself and the Spaniard with victories in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, he reached Valparaiso in 4th place without knowing he missed his chance to equal the Stéphane Peterhansel's record of six victories in the bike class. Because following the challenge launched by Yamaha, it was the project proposed by Peugeot that Despres accepted without hesitation. In 2016, his second experienced concluded with a 7th place marked by a few frustrations but more importantly a lot of promise The rest of the season confirmed his maturity as a driver, with the win on the Silk Way Rally. The tandem that Despres has formed with former Dakar Sporting Director, David Castera, has taken shape…and even the recipe for success. They are now among the favourites for the win, just like their team mates who will compete in the new 3008 DKR.
C.D.: “The first assessment I can make since joining Peugeot is ultra-positive. I didn't imagine such a fast transition. I didn't know what kind of result I could manage, but in this unknown, I had the advantage of joining an incredible team. At Peugeot there are only the best and in every job description. This allowed me to progress very quickly. This year with David we won the Silk Way, but I haven't forgot that in reality there were two glaring moments for us this season. A few weeks later, we were on point on the Morocco Rally with a strong dose of confidence…and after 12kms of racing on the opening stage, we made a road-book error and flipped°! Because of this mistake we lost all chance of winning, but I learned a lesson. On the Dakar, we will do what we know how to do, and especially a run an intelligent rally. We are among a group that can race for the podium, but we are aware of the work that we still have to do. After all, Stéphane Peterhansel needed six years to win in the car class and Nani Roma did after ten years of trying°! We're not going to take shortcuts.”
D.C.: “I can still count the number of rallies I've done on one hand, so I look at like I am still learning. But this year we've shown that we can race among the Top 5 on the Dakar. The Silk Way Rally victory was important, especially when it came to navigation because we were able to be the first in the dunes, but also follow in the dust of the others…all of this is experience. We have the chance to race for Peugeot, but in order to win in the near future; we have to progress faster than the others.”