Nine-time World Rally champion Sébastien Loeb has made his debut at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb one to remember by setting a new world record time of 8:13.878 today. Watch the full POV footage from Loeb's car in the video above.
Loeb was a full minute and a half clear of the previous record, 9:46.164, set by Rhys Millen in the Time Attack class in 2012.
“For me, this was the race of the year,” said Loeb at the finish, 14,110 feet high in the Rocky Mountains. “At the beginning of my run there was a bit of pressure for sure because I knew there was so much work and investment from Peugeot and all the partners. Now, after all the practice, it was just down to me and I had to perform.”
Loeb was the first of the Unlimited class cars to run, unleashing his 875-horsepower Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak onto the mountain after all the motorcycle competitors had completed their attempts. There were a number of delays before he started, which brought some worry about bad weather, something the Pikes Peak event is often plagued with.
“When I was on the start line waiting to go, I could actually see the clouds closing in at the top of the mountain,” said Loeb. “I remember thinking that if we didn’t get going soon, it would be really difficult.”
“I’m really happy as that was a very good run in the end,” said Loeb. “I really didn’t expect anything better than 8:15, so to do 8:13 was fantastic. Before the start I didn’t really know if I should push absolutely to the maximum or if I should just push to a comfortable pace, in order to make sure of the victory. In the end, I decided to push to the limit.”
In second place on the 91st running of the “Race to the Clouds” this year was former record-holder Rhys Millen in his all-new Hyundai RMR PM580-T, 49 seconds behind Loeb with a time of 9:02.192. The New Zealander beat his own record -- and he says that he’s determined to break the nine-minute barrier next year.
“I think it’s fair to say that we were racing for second place today,” said Millen. “Myself and Romain Dumas had been really close throughout practice, but then I heard that his engine had unfortunately broken at the start. I knew I wasn’t going to beat Sebastien’s time, so I just decided to take no risks.
"You have to hand it to Loeb and Peugeot Sport; they were unbeatable. That time they set was simply incredible. When will it be beaten? It might never be…”
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