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GP Week : Issue 169
RALLY >>> FEATURE 99 and counting Question: which famous rally marque started its motorsport history at the Indianapolis 500? Yup, Peugeot! MARTIN HOLMES traces the 99-year history of Peugeot in motorsport Karl-Heinz Goldstein Ninety-nine years ago Peugeot became an international force in motorsport when the company’s car won the prestigious Indianapolis 500 race in America. Peugeot's official rally competition programmes however are relatively recent. They began in 1974, based at Sochaux, in East France some 50 kilometres west of Basle. The cars used by the team at that time were principally 504s, then 504 Coupe V6s but sometimes the 104 cars were used as well. The 504s gained an enviable reputation for strength and reliability, winning many rallies in Africa including five FIA world championship events. This activity continued until 1981. High performance, however, was not the top item on Peugeot’s agenda. At this time the team and the sport under went a major change of policy, and performance became an essential objective. The team moved to Paris under new management and developed a car for the new Group B rules with the available evolution options. Peugeot now employed a distinctive new philosophy – of using a motor sport version of a wolf (lion?) in sheep's clothing. The Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 under the bodywork was as dramatic and sensational as any state-of- the-art rally car, although externally it looked little different to the car in the showroom. This car, with its more aerodynamic second edition Evolution version, became the benchmark for the 'Supercar' era, winning the rally Manufacturers' title in 1985 and 1986. A sudden and apparently unconstitutional change of formula soured the confidence of the Peugeot management, and from 1987 till