French Driver Sebastien Loeb smashes Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Course Record On His First Visit To America’s Mountain!Tuesday, Jul. 23 2013
Photo courtesy Ford McClave 2013
BY NEAL REID
Colorado Springs Sports Corp
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO., June 30, 2013 – He came, he drove, he conquered.
Nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb of France set the racing world ablaze Sunday when he obliterated the overall race record in the 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. In his first appearance in the “Race to the Clouds,” Loeb maneuvered through the 156 turns on the 12.42-mile course in 8:13.878, more than a minute-and-a-half faster than the previous race record of 9:46.181 set by Rhys Millen last year.
“I felt really good in the car, and I pushed it hard from the start to the finish,” Loeb said. “I made no mistakes, and I felt the race was really good. To drive a car like this and race up here (to the top) is what makes this special. It’s amazing.”
Driving a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak in the Unlimited class, Loeb averaged 87.471 miles per hour while setting the record. Millen finished a distant second with a time of 9:02.192, the second fastest time in the history of the race, in his 2013 Hyundai PM580T, and Jean-Philippe Dayraut of France also topped the previous record with a time of 9:42.740 while driving a 2011 Mini Countryman.
Loeb said he hasn’t decided if he will return in 2014 and said breaking the 8-minute mark wasn’t at the top of his priorities’ list.
“With this car, it’s not possible to go much faster than that,” Loeb said. “With a car like this, it’s not possible to do (it in under) 8 minutes, and there’s no need to break 8 minutes.”
Paul Dallenbach finished in 9:46.001 in his 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe that Millen drove last year to the old record to also eclipse last year’s record and win the Time Attack class.
“The Rhys Millen Racing-prepared Genesis Coupe really complemented my aggressive driving style in setting the Time Attack world record,” said Dallenbach. “With some very specific adjustments to the car this year giving a more neutral handling balance, I was able to even build upon last year’s world record set by Millen. It was thrilling to drive a racer that made full use of my years of experience at Pikes Peak.”
As expected, with the entire course now being a paved track, numerous records fell at the historic race.
Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima won the Electric car class and his tenth Pikes Peak championship with a class record time of 9:46.530, nearly 30 seconds quicker than the record of 10:15.380 set by Fumio Nutahara last year. The former overall PPIHC record-holder from Japan drove a 2013 E-Runner Pikes Peak Special and made it to the top of the 14,110-foot peak a year after the disappointment of not being unable to finish the race due to an engine fire.
Carlin Dunne of Santa Barbara, Calif. – who owns the race’s overall record for the motorcycles at 9:52.819 – again was the fastest motorcycle, clocking a time of 10:00.694 on his 2013 Lightning Electric SuperBike in the Exhibition Powersports class.
“In hindsight, you’re always like, ‘I could have gone a little further here or a little faster here,’” Dunne said. “But today, that’s all there was on this course. It was a little slick, and I think everyone had grip problems. I realized that about six turns in when I almost completely pitched it.
“At that point, I said, ‘Be mellow, and let’s make it to the top.’ Ten minutes on an electric bike – that’s incredible. We made history today, and I’m really happy.”
France’s Bruno Langlois set a record on his 2013 Ducati Multistrada in winning the Pikes Peak 1205 class with time of 10:21.323, while Jeffrey Tigert’s 10:32.964 mark on his 2013 Honda CRF450 established a new Pikes Peak 450 class record.
Michael Coburn’s 11:05.874 time on his 2013 Walsh 450R was a Quad Modified class record, and Codie Vasholtz set a Pikes Peak 250 record with a time of 11:24.792 on his 1996 Kawasaki KX 250.
With two of the more interesting entries, Mike Ryan drove a 2008 Freightliner Pikes Peak Special semi-truck in the Pikes Peak Open class, finishing in 12:49.211. Simon Pagenaud made the run in his 2011 Honda Odyssey minivan in the Exhibition class in 12:54.325.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the nation’s second oldest motor sports race behind the Indianapolis 500, taking its first run in 1916 on a dirt highway to the 14,110-foot summit.