Sébastian Loeb’s Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak has set a record time of 8 minutes 13.878 seconds at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb over the weekend, comfortably breaking the previous 9-minute 46.164-second record achieved by Rhys Millen’s Hyundai Genesis Coupe in 2012.
The nine-time rally champion recorded an average speed of 145 km/h over the treacherous 20 km, 156-turn run. Amidst a delayed start and weather concerns, Loeb ran the course two seconds faster than the theoretical 8 minutes 15 seconds estimated by Peugeot Sport’s computer.
Second place in the Unlimited class went to Rhys Millen’s Hyundai RMR PM580-T (9 minutes 2.192 seconds), while third went to Jean-Philippe Dayraut’s 2011 MINI Countryman (9 minutes 42.74 seconds). Both have eclipsed last year’s record set by the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, which won this year’s Time Attack class at the hands of Paul Dallenbach (9 minutes 46.001 seconds).
“It was good, all under control from start to finish,” said Loeb. “Apart from the potential of the weather turning bad, we didn’t have any worrying moments. For me, this was the race of the year.”
The Frenchman’s success pays tribute to former world rally champion Ari Vatanen and his 405 T16’s Pikes Peak record in 1988. Vatanen clocked 10 minutes 47.22 seconds – how far indeed we’ve come!