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The welcome addition of the National Capital Rally to he ARC has seen a return to gravel rallying of the NSW competitors Russell Dixon and James Ford. It has also unearthed a rather unique car in the 1997 F2 Peugeot 306 (Maxi)

With a gravel version of iconic Peugeot 205 GTI nearing completion for the team in November, the 306 became available. The cars specs read like a Peugeot sport completion catalogue and Dixon jumped at the opportunity to return to the forest with the 306.  The car, having competed in the late 1990’s in selected European and British events including the RAC WRC event. Imported into Australia the Car was prepared for the Harbour City rally in 2002, but did not start the event. It remained mothballed for 11 years before been offered for sale.

"Having invested a lot of time and money into the 205, it was a battle to decide on the 306, however once I saw the build quality and engineering in the car it was an opportunity to good to be missed," Dixon commented on the decision to move to the 306.

A number of phone calls to the UK resulted in the cars history being traced. Originally built as a group A car, then updated to Maxi specs with the sequential gearbox and full fruit specifications, the lack of Peugeot Sport technical support had the car retain maxi spec, but run a ZF 6 cog dog engagement box and the narrow body rather than the outrageous Maxi flares. Currently in this configuration the engine has been detuned from a stratospheric 9000 plus rpm limit to one aimed at a little more longevity. Weighing in a the class limit and with around 260hp on tap and a factory build standard, the team look forward to running the car in selected 2013 ARC and NSW State events.

The 306 Maxi is a true rally icon of the sport and Peugeot’s completion history is full of great machines. From 404, 504, 205, 306, 206 WRC, 307 WRC, 207 S2000 and the new 208, Peugeot has been famous for brilliant handling cars, innovative engineering and incredible results.

306 Maxi Background*

Peugeot 306 Maxi’s heritage can be traced back to the 306 S16’s debut on the 1995, it did not take long to evolve into a very competitive machine, as privateer drivers ensured that Peugeot won the 1995 official 2-Litre World Championship for manufactures.

With the creation of the F2 Kit Car class, which required cars to be 2 ltr, non turbo and 2 wheel drive, Peugeot swiftly altered the successful S16 so that it complied with the new rules. The redesigned car brought with it a ‘Banshees wail’ reminiscent of the Group B era. Peugeot Sport duly managed to get the engine to rev beyond 10,000 rpm without sacrificing reliability.

When the wide-body car debuted at the 1995 French Championship Rallye Alsace-Vogues it caused some surprises. The first was for the organisers who had to hastily shorten one stage, when it was discovered that the car’s portly dimensions were wider than a bridge before the planned stage finish. The second was for the other competitors as the unknown Peugeot F2 car which was seeded 38th came home 2nd overall, pushing eventual winner Patrick Bernardini in his fresh works Escort Cosworth all the way to the finish line!

This wasn’t just a flash of brilliance either as during the 1998 season the 306 Maxi dominated all other F2 Kit Cars, an example of which was in the hands of Francois Delecour on the Tour de Corse, where he came 2nd (by seconds) in wet conditions to Colin McRae's 4wd Subaru Impreza WRC, but over 16 minutes ahead of Martin Rowe's F2 Renault Mégane and over 17 minutes ahead of Alister McRae's F2 Hyundai Coupé Kit Car.*

Whilst Dixon is realistic, in no way will they be completive with the modern G2 spec cars. The car will take a while to get sorted and getting to the end of ROC is challenge in itself with a car that until 3 weeks ago was inches deep in dust. In fact getting to the start line has been challenge enough.  However in Its current unique colour scheme the screaming Pug will be a great sight and sound for the rally spectator in forest.

The team wishes to acknowledge the great help and support of : SW Motorsport, Phil O’Sullivan Garage, Vic Scona, Gary Moore and Andrew Nichols, Heritage Motorsport and V Sport.

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