Peugeot Sport will 'launch' the 207 RC Rallye in 2009, the French manufacturer has announced.

The 207 RC Rallye was developed at V?lizy and features the production-based THP (Turbo High Pressure) engine. This 1.6 litre turbocharged unit was co-developed with the BMW Group, and has already been used in the Spider and LW track racers.

The engine is mated to an all-new, six-speed straight-cut manual gearbox, and comes equipped with Magneti-Marelli Sport electronics and a wiring loom unique to this model. It develops 180bhp, tips the scales at just 1,120kg and has been homologated in the R3 category which calls for a welded roll cage, an important safety feature.

It is also one of the few cars in its category to have been designed to compete on both asphalt and gravel and will be cheaper to run than its predecessor, the 206 XS, thanks in part to its 'robust' and 'durable' design.

"Since the late 1970s, Peugeot has forged a solid reputation in rallying, which is certainly thanks in large part to its successes in the Manufacturers' World Rally Championship - but not exclusively so," said Peugeot Sport director, Michel Barge. "Peugeot has always sought to consolidate its brand awareness through promotional formulae, which establish relationships between the company, its dealer network and our customers.

"Peugeot has become a benchmark in the world of rallying by running single make-series which are not only highly competitive but also competitively priced.

"In 2009, Peugeot will launch the 207 RC Rallye on the asphalt and gravel rallying scene. This new programme represents a further commitment by Peugeot to the world of grass roots motor sport, while remaining as faithful as possible to the identity of the model range. We're convinced that people will enjoy competing with the 207 RC Rallye."

Development drivers' Stephane Sarrazin and Bryan Bouffier meanwhile are both impressed with the 207 RAC Rallye: "I didn't expect the car to be so competitive on both gravel and asphalt," Sarrazin noted. "The torque out of the corners is impressive, and the straight-cut gearbox is very effective.

"This is a real racing machine, and at a very reasonable price given its overall level of competitiveness. I will have the honour of driving it as zero car on the Var and C?vennes rallies in the French Championship."

"Before I got behind the wheel of the 207 RC Rallye, I expected it to be competitive given how good the engine and chassis are on the production 207 RC. The car felt good straight out of the box," Bouffier added. "I think that drivers - both new and experienced - will really enjoy themselves in this car. And importantly for amateur competitors, its reliability should be impeccable, which will help keep running costs low."

The pre-tax price for the 207 RC Rallye asphalt kit is 20,500 Euros. This includes the body with welded roll cage, the six-speed straight-cut gearbox, specific wiring loom and ECU, Peugeot Sport spring/damper units, specific brakes and wheel rims, etc, etc. The gravel conversion kit includes spring/damper units, brakes, wheel rims and guards and will be available for 5,000 Euros.