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 205
As the new compact car Peugeot 205 is developed, the motorsport department can build the competition vehicle in parallel. Todt's goal is to take part in the World Rally Championship with a competitive car.
The specification sheet includes the following points: The series chassis of the 205 will be extended by 120 millimeters and the wheelbase will increase by one to 2,540 millimeters to achieve higher driving stability and to create enough space for the mid-engine design. The center of gravity of the Rallye 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 sees the first participation of the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 at the World Rally Championship in 1984 - and winning the title for 1985. That’s 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.
The rally season begins for thePeugeot 205 Turbo 16 very promising. 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 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 world rally champions on the 205 Turbo 16. In the German Rally Championship, Kalle Grundel and Peter Dieckmann make it to the top of the podium.
Attractive rally team: Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 and Michèle Mouton
1986 is a particularly attractive year for Rally fans: The rally amazon Michèle Mouton is driving the 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 205 Turbo 16 Evolution from 1986.
But in the same year the tragedy of 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 in 1987, Peugeot took second to fourth place with the 205 Turbo 16. 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 205 Turbo 16, Juha Kankkunen won overall victory for Peugeot in the Paris-Dakar Rally for the second time in 1988.
You can find more about the Peugeot 205 from the colleagues at Motor Klassik:
Peugeot 205 GTI and 205 Cabriolet with purchase advice
25 years of the Peugeot 205 GTI
How do you get rid of a given Peugeot?
Joachim Carl drives a Peugeot 205 youngtimer rallies that have been tuned to 165 hp
25 years of the Peugeot 205