Thursday, September 15, 2011

Race Car Of The Day: September 15, 2011

Today's car of the day is Guisval's 1999 Peugeot 206 WRC.

The Peugeot 206 is a supermini (subcompact car), manufactured by the French automaker Peugeot from 1998 to 2010.

Even though the 206 has finished production in most markets as of 2010, it is still available in Europe since 2009, as the '206+'.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Peugeot 206

A recent purchase from pjedsel, this little Guisval is a really nice model!  The Ultra Hots knock-off wheels are distracting, but do not ruin this model.

During the early 1990s, Peugeot decided not to directly replace the Peugeot 205, citing the reason that superminis were no longer profitable or worthwhile. Instead, Peugeot followed a unique strategy and decided that its new, smaller, supermini, the Peugeot 106 (launched in 1991) would take sales from the lower end of the 205 range while the lowest models of the Peugeot 306 range, launched in 1993 to replace the Peugeot 309, would take sales from the top-end 205s. Between the 106 and 306, Peugeot hoped that the 205 would not need to be replaced, and could be phased out slowly, while customers who would normally plump for the 205 would continue to have a choice with either a smaller or larger car.
Unfortunately for Peugeot, this strategy did not work. With the 205 phased out, other superminis like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo continued to sell well and even increased in popularity, and without a direct competitor to these cars Peugeot was losing sales fast. A new supermini was required, and the 206 was launched in 1998 as a somewhat belated replacement for the 205.

Although the 206 moniker indicates a direct continuation from the 205, some critics state that the car should have instead been badged 207. This is because Peugeot launched its latest generation of cars in the early to mid 1990s, with the 106 of 1991, the 306 of 1993 and the 406 of 1995.

Its eventual successor - the Peugeot 207 - was launched in 2006. As of 2010, the twelve-year-old 206 was Peugeot's best-selling car of all time.

It was built in France and England until the end of 2006. The end of British production coincided with the closure of the Ryton plant which Peugeot had taken over when buying Chrysler's European division in 1979.

In 1999, Peugeot Sport unveiled the 206 WRC, and it competed for the first time in that year's World Rally Championship, with French tarmac veteran and long-time marque stalwart Gilles Panizzi narrowly failing, against a resurgent reigning champion in Mitsubishi's Tommi Mäkinen, to win the Rallye Sanremo. The car was soon a success, however, and won both the manufacturers' and drivers' championships in 2000, Peugeot's first such accolades since their withdrawal from the WRC after Group B was banned after the 1986 season, and achieved in the hands of Panizzi, Francois Delecour and Mäkinen's successor as drivers' world champion, Marcus Grönholm.

For 2001, Grönholm competed alongside two refugees of SEAT's exit from the championship at the end of 2000; compatriot Harri Rovanperä and the French 1994 world champion, Didier Auriol. Rovanperä and Auriol each contributed single wins, on Swedish Rally and Rally Catalunya respectively (the former to be a sole career win for the Finn, and the latter victory helped by assorted problems for the blisteringly quick debuting Citroën Xsara WRCs), before Auriol left the team at the end of the season. Grönholm, meanwhile, suffered sufficient reliability woes in the first half of the year such that he could manage no higher than fourth overall in the series, although Peugeot did fend off Ford, with a 1-2 result by the two Finns on the season-ending Rally of Great Britain to successfully defend the constructors' championship title.

In 2002, Grönholm – despite now being paired in the factory line-up with defending 2001 champion from Subaru, the Briton Richard Burns – led Peugeot to a repeat of the WRC title double aboard his 206 WRC. His dominance that year was compared to Michael Schumacher's dominance of Formula One. In summary, Peugeot won two drivers' championships, in 2000 and 2002, and three manufacturers' titles in a row between 2000 and 2002. However, by 2003 the 206 WRC was beginning to show its age and was less effective against the competition, notably the newer Xsara WRC and the Subaru Impreza WRC, so it was retired from competition at the end of the season, to be replaced with the 307 WRC, albeit, unlike its predecessor, based not on the production version's hatchback, but its coupé cabriolet body style.
The Peugeot 206 WRC was awarded the Autosport "Rally Car of the Year" in 2002, preceded by the Ford Focus WRC and followed by the Citroën Xsara WRC. Peugeot GB created a Peugeot 206 rally championship aimed at young drivers. The championship was created to help young drivers develop their careers. The cars were built by Vic Lee Racing and drivers such as Tom Boardman, Luke Pinder and Garry Jennings all drove in the championship.

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