Peugeot Sport chose Mont Ventoux, one of the most legendary stages of the famous Tour de France cycle race, as the setting for its final full-scale dress rehearsal in Europe before its fast-approaching journey to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The barren mountain in the south of France provided a valuable preview of the conditions Sebastien Loeb and his Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak will face in Colorado, USA, on June 30. True, the road, which climbs to the peak of Mont Ventoux, does not reach the same sort of altitudes as Pikes Peak, but its characteristics make it an ideal venue for the continuing development and fine-tuning of the powerful 875hp beast.
Since its first outing in the hands of the nine-time world rally champion, the car has covered a high number of kilometres pounding round a circuit driven by Sebastien Loeb’s understudy, test driver Gregory Guilvert. After his recent victory on the World Rally Championship’s Rally Argentina and a race last weekend in Barcelona, Spain, Loeb himself was delighted to be reacquainted with the 208 T16 Pikes Peak.
Loeb's first observation was to note that the machine’s striking new livery has in no way detracted from its grunt. “It’s the same beast of a car,” he beamed after his first run. “Driving it on a real road is a very useful pointer because that is what awaits us at Pikes Peak. Its handling is extremely responsive but I’m still not quite able to place it as precisely as I would like. That’s something we will need to work on a little more…”
The testing process will now continue in the United States and the 208 T16 Pikes Peak is due to be flown out to Colorado at the end of the month. Once there, Peugeot Sport will continue the countdown to its exciting adventure.