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Preview: Loeb prowls Pikes Peak

12 June 2013, 11:45

Colorado - World Rally Champ Sebastien Loeb setup camp on the Colorado mountain during the first Pikes Peak practice sessions ahead of the 2013 Hill Climb.

The race director warned drivers to take extra care during the morning briefs since water from melting snow had frozen overnight. Pikes Peak caps at an altitude of 4.3km and this part of Colorado is genuine mountain country – a space where man is not in charge.

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According to experienced mountain climbers, these areas need humility, patience and hard work. Therefor the challenge for June 30 needs to be taken one step, rushing it will mean a bad bout of altitude sickness.


Peugeot Sport and Sebastien Loeb went for the one-step-at-a-time approach for their first practice weekend. They started off by putting their engine through its paces on a test bench in Colorado Springs to see how it performed at altitude.

The team then headed to the town’s nearby ‘Speedway’ for a shakedown run and to sign off changes made at the final test run in France.

Loeb took time to get to know the 156 turns of the Hill Climb so he can take on each corner precisely with some mental notes, assisted by his co-driver, Daniel Elena. Only once all these preparations had been completed  in the nine climbs, it was time to give the 208 T16 Pikes Peak its first taste of the mountain.


Peugeot Sport’s director Bruno Famin said: “The result of the weekend is globally positive.

“Our 'beast' seems to suit Sebastien, to the extent that we have hardly made any changes to its set-up. The car’s potential is borne out by the fact that we posted the fastest time on each run.

“That said, 2012 winner Rhys Millen, who is something of a benchmark here, it still familiarising himself with his own car and there was very little real opposition. The chief lesson, therefore, is that the 208 T16 Pikes Peak is a well-sorted car and that our busy programme in the past four months seems to have taken us in the right direction. We will now need to continue in the same vein.”

Loeb said: “I feel very confident with the car.

“That’s a reassuring start, if only because of the speeds we get up to here. We are already getting close to the limit in many places. All we need to do now is make some detail changes and we will be ready for the Big Day!”

For that, the team will benefit from three more official practice sessions at the end of this week and that will mark a fresh phase in Peugeot Sport’s acclimatisation process.

- Wheels24


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