Early eighties: P eugeot sells cars, but has a staid image. The Board of Management believes that this should improve with a successful involvement in motorsport, and plans to use it with the greatest possible radiation effects on the commercially available series cars. Peugeot President Jean Boillot finds the solution: rallying. He is looking for a proven professional to whom he can delegate the task and finds him in Jean Todt. The later boss of the Ferrari Formula 1 team has had numerous successes as a co-driver since 1966 and is hired as head of the racing and motorsport department. Two success stories take their course.
Parallel development to the series-production Peugeot 205
Since the new compact car Peugeot 205 , the motorsport department can build the competition vehicle in parallel. Todt's aim is to take part in the World Rally Championship with a competitive car.
The specification sheet includes the following items: The series chassis of the Peugeot 205 will be extended by 120 millimeters and the wheelbase will grow to 2,540 millimeters in order to achieve greater driving stability and for the mid-engine concept to create enough space. The center of gravity of the rally Peugeot 205 with its tubular space frame is significantly lower than that of the production Peugeot 205. The decision was made to use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that would also drive all four wheels. The required output is between 330 and 350 hp.
The plan of the company management provides for the first participation of the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 in the World Rally Championship as early as 1984 - and the title win in 1985. So much for the theory, the team around Jean Todt is working on the implementation of the ambitious plan.
Presentation of the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 before the production model
After months of development, Peugeot presented the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 on February 23, 1983 - one day before the production model. The car will be homologated on April 1st and the final tests will be carried out until August before the first cars are ready for use. Jean Todt signs the 1981 world champion, the Finn Ari Vatanen, as driver.
TheThe rally season starts promisingly for the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16. At the Corsica Rally, Ari Vatanan fought for the leading position before an accident stopped him. But much more important is the proof of the competitiveness of the little French. The opponents have been warned and will take the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 seriously from now on. Vatanen already triumphs in the next race, the 1,000 lakes rally in Finland.
According to plan, the Peugeot team won the world title the following year. Timo Salonen and Seppo Harjanne become rally world champions in the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16. Kalle Grundel and Peter Dieckmann make it to the top of the podium at the German Rally Championship.
Attractive rally team: Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 and Michèle Mouton
1986 is a particularly attractive year for Rally fans: The rally amazon Michèle Mouton drives the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 for the German Rally Championship. Juha Kankkunen wins the rally world championship title in the drivers 'and manufacturers' championship. The engine of the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 is said to have an output of up to 520 hp, while Peugeot officially speaks of a maximum of 430 hp in the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution from 1986.
But the tragedy is said to occur in the same year the Rally Portugal, in which Henri Toivonen and several spectators lost their lives, end the Group B era. The following year, Ari Vatanen had another important success with the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16: he won the Paris-Dakar rally. At the Pikes Peak hill climb, Peugeot took second to fourth place with the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 in 1987. Walter Röhrl takes victory in the Audi Sport Quattro S1, Vatanen is in second place, 6.98 seconds behind - and complains of problems with the boost pressure. At the end of the rally career of the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, Juha Kankkunen won the overall victory at the Paris-Dakar Rally for Peugeot for the second time in 1988.