At the wheel of his unlimited class Peugeot 208 T16, Loeb shattered Rhys Millen’s previous Pikes Peak record of 9m46.164 to become the first driver to complete the course in less than nine minutes.
It was Loeb’s first attempt at the legendary 12-mile all-asphalt road in Colorado that winds through 156 corners to an altitude of 14,000 feet.
“For me, this was the race of the year, ” said Loeb at the finish. “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.”
“I’m really happy as that was a very good run in the end. I really didn’t expect anything better than 8m15s, so to do 8m13s 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.”
“It was good, all under control from start to finish, ” he concluded. “Apart from the potential of the weather turning bad, we didn’t have any worrying moments.”
Millen was second in the unlimited class in his Hyundai RMR PM580-T. The New Zealander was 49 seconds behind Loeb with a time of 9m02.192s.
Porsche sportscar racer Romain Dumas failed to complete his run. The Frenchman had been closest to Loeb in qualifying but his Norma M20FC PP was side-lined with an engine problem.
Peugeot has won Pikes Peak twice before, most notably in 1988 when another former WRC champion, Ari Vatanen, broke the record in a Peugeot 405 T16. Vatanen’s time for the course, which back then was gravel-covered, was 10m 47.220s.