Photostory: Sebastien Loeb's journey to the top

From Peugeot HQ to the summit of Pikes Peak, we reinact Loeb’s Rocky Mountain adventure.
By Tim Sturtridge

The record books now show that Sebastien Loeb is officially King of the Peak after he set a stunning time of 8m13.878s at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. We now look back at project’s beginnings in France and continue through to the moment Loeb became the first driver to break the nine-minute mark on the famous Rocky Mountain road.

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A first look at the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak
A first look at the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak
A first look at the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak As Sebastien Loeb winds down his World Rally Championship career, the Frenchman is looking for new challenges. Soon Loeb, alongside Peugeot, has his sights set on the Pike Peaks International Hill Climb. © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
The hard work begins
The hard work begins
The hard work begins Man and machine must be in perfect harmony if Loeb is to get the better of Pikes Peak. The 12.4-mile hill climb is the most famous in the world, rising to more than 4300 metres above sea level in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains range. © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
Loeb is stunned by staggering performance
Loeb is stunned by staggering performance
Loeb is stunned by staggering performance After his first few kilometres in the Peugeot, Loeb declared: “The 208 T16 Pikes Peak is a rocket! It’s so powerful. The first time you drive it, each gear change practically stuns you.” © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
A wild ride up Mont Ventoux
A wild ride up Mont Ventoux
A wild ride up Mont Ventoux Sebastien Loeb and the team perform a dress rehearsal on Mont Ventoux, the setting for one of the toughest stages of the Tour de France. © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
The hand of history
The hand of history
The hand of history Peugeot returned to the Unlimited class of Pikes Peak on the 25th anniversary of the French manufacturer’s record-breaking first win with Ari Vatanen in 1988. © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
Further fine-tuning takes place
Further fine-tuning takes place
Further fine-tuning takes place A total of 11 people from Peugeot worked exclusively on the 208 T16 Pikes Peak at the manufacturer’s headquarters under the leadership of project chief Jean-Christophe Pallier. © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
With a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends WRC co-driver Daniel Elena was on hand in Colorado to help Sebastien Loeb plan his attack on Pikes Peak. The duo worked out the pace notes during several test runs up the mountain. © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
Loeb unleashes his ‘Beast’ at Pikes Peak testing
Loeb unleashes his ‘Beast’ at Pikes Peak testing
Loeb unleashes his ‘Beast’ at Pikes Peak testing After topping the timesheets during testing, Sebastien Loeb goes quickest at Pikes Peak qualifying to claim the honour of being the first car up the mountain on race day. © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
Getting a fresh perspective on things
Getting a fresh perspective on things
Getting a fresh perspective on things In between taking care of business at Pikes Peak, Sebastien Loeb took a road trip on a Harley-Davidson 103 Road King. Colorado is the highest state in the USA and is renowned for its majestic scenery and soaring skies. © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
Fans get a piece of their hero
Fans get a piece of their hero
Fans get a piece of their hero Sebastien Loeb chatted with his supporters at the Pikes Peak Fan Fest in downtown Colorado Springs: a sort of massive street party for petrolheads. The streets get shut down as around 30,000 motorsport fans roll in. © Garth Milan/Red Bull Content Pool
The engine roars, and so does the crowd
The engine roars, and so does the crowd
The engine roars, and so does the crowd Sebastien Loeb received great support from fans that lined the 12.4-mile course, cheering the Frenchman on during his quest to create history in the Rocky Mountains. © Garth Milan/Red Bull Content Pool
Sebastien Loeb is King of the Peak
Sebastien Loeb is King of the Peak
Sebastien Loeb is King of the Peak After months of anticipation, Sebastien Loeb shattered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record with a breath-taking time of 8m13.878s in the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak. © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool