Peugot 205-T16 Group B
The Group B period is one of the most fascinating in rallying history. Following on from Group 4, cars in this class could now be turbocharged, opening the door to super-powerful machines that were extremely effective, particularly with the arrival of four-wheel drive. To be homologated in Group B, makers needed to produce 200 examples of the model, allowing for 20 special versions each year, known as Evolution models, built purely for competition.
At Peugeot, the appointment of Jean Todt in 1981 as head of the rally competition department, resulted in the launch of a major programme to win the World Championship. The weapon that enabled the constructor to achieve its objective was the 205 Turbo 16. Modified for the cause, the car had little in common with the 205 series model. It had a fibreglass shell on a steel monocoque chassis with a mid-positioned engine and transmission to all four wheels. The engine was a four-cylinder 1800 turbocharged engine producing 350 bhp in the first Evolution version.
The car was homologated in March 1984 and finished in fourth place on the Tour de Corse, driven by Jean-Pierre Nicolas. The 205 T16 was ready to go, and to measure up against marques that were already present, such as Renault, Lancia, Porsche, Opel and a little later, Audi. The 1985 season brought resounding success: seven wins in eleven races, 182 special stages won out of a total of 473 and for Peugeot, a first constructor’s title when Timo Salonen and Seppo Harjane won the drivers’ title.
While Peugeot 205 T16 Evo 1 became a legend in group B rallying during the ’85 and ’85 seasons, the ’86 season’s Evolution 2 represented the ultimate incarnation of the legendary 4-wheeler. During the Tour de Corse it annihilated the competition, with the sympathetic Bruno Saby behind the wheel and co-piloted by Jean-François Fauchille and by the end of the season, won the marque its second consecutive title, with Juha Kankkunen and Juha Piironen taking the drivers’ title.
– Jeremy Cottingham, Edited.
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