Nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb may have been a rookie at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race, but that wasn't a disadvantage to the Frenchman. With a time of eight minutes and 13.878 seconds, Loeb's time in the Peugeot 208 T16 beat Rhys Millen's record-breaking run last year of nine minutes and 51.278 seconds.
Loeb's attack on the Pikes Peak course came at a blistering average speed of 140kph, much faster than Millen's average speed of 127kph in his Hyundai PM 580T.
"I spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not to push to the maximum to get a really good record, or whether or not just to push hard enough to get a result so that we could win," said Loeb after the race. "In the end, once I was in the car, I decided to push hard. I'd say I was pretty much on the limit of it with every corner. But it was okay, we didn't have any moments at all."
As a consolation for Millen, his run up the mountain this year was timed at nine minutes and 2.192 seconds, which means he also managed to break the record he set last year. Rounding out the top three was Jean-Philippe Dayraut, who, like Loeb and Millen, also competed in the Unlimited Class and set a time of nine minutes and 42.740 seconds in his Mini Countryman.
As for Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima, who was the last to hold the Pikes Peak record in 2011 when part of the track was still made of dirt, he finally managed to complete his run in his E-Runner Pikes Peak Special with a time of nine minutes and 46.530 seconds. This gives Tajima not just the record for the fastest electric car up Pikes Peak but also his 10th title in the famed hill-climb race.
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