Pikes Peak dream coming closer for Sebastien Loeb

We bring you part two of our interview with the nine-time world rally champion.

Sebastien Loeb Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak
© Red Bull Content Pool

RedBull.com: Have you ever been to Pikes Peak?
Sebastien Loeb: No, I have only ever been to America once [to Los Angeles for the X Games last year].

RB: So how can you prepare – videos, simulators etc?
SL: I watch videos for sure and I will go there with maybe Daniel [Elena, his WRC co-driver] to make some recce. Slow speed but to take the notes. For me it’s important because I’m used to working like this and then try to do a few passes. From the video before, then I have it in my mind and I remember the corners.

RB: Now it’s all asphalt – are you expecting this just to be like a really fast asphalt stage like the Monte Carlo Rally or Rally de France?
SL: Yes, but it’s just completely a different car. There’s nothing to compare to a WRC car. It has so much more grip and so much more power. The feeling will be completely different. You enter in the corner at very high speed to what we can do [in a WRC car]. It’s more like driving a prototype like a Peugeot 908 [Peugeot’s Le Mans racer] but on a road.

Sebastien Loeb Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak
Loeb with the 208 T16 Pikes Peak in testing© Red Bull Content Pool

RB: You’ve probably seen the Climb Dance video of Ari Vatanen in the Peugeot 405 T16 at Pikes Peak in 1988. Is that an inspiration?
SL:
It’s a nice video, for sure. It’s something I saw when I was young and there are some images I have still in my mind but it will be different. It was on gravel. I would be happy if it’s still on gravel but it’s not. Tarmac I think is more complicated because it’s really fast. The car will be really fast in the corner. But the video of Climb Dance was incredible.

RB: Pikes Peak is famous for some very big drops…
SL:
[Interrupts] I don’t want to see the drops!

RB: I bet you don’t but do you have to prepare maybe a little bit differently for this event?
SL:
A little bit. For sure you know it and then the thing is you have to be able to concentrate only on the road – not to think what else is off the road. So that is something I have to do. In the rally we are quite often in these situations.

Sebastien Loeb Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak
Loeb strapped into the missile© Red Bull Content Pool

RB: What is the vision like from inside the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak compared to a WRC car?
SL:
The same. You don’t see the wheels or the sides so you have to imagine where it is. I have to take care… it’s wider than the car I am using usually but except for that the vision is a little bit the same.

RB: It sounds like you’re being strapped to a missile…
SL:
A bit…[big grin]