We knew that Sebastien Loeb, nine time WRC champion, is one of the best drivers in the world. We also knew that Peugeot racing team has brought a beast of a car to the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Still, all spectators at yesterday’s 91st running of the PPIHC race stood stunned in disbelief after Loeb’s time was announced over the radio. “8:13.878 !!!”
TFLcar team was on the mountain (near Devil’s Playground area) and we witnessed first-hand how smooth and fast Sebastien was. The Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak loudly barked at every gear change, and the sound of its 900 horsepower alcohol racing motor reverberated off the cliffs of Pikes Peak. After Loeb disappeared into the distance on his way to the 14,110 ft mountain peak finish line, one of the spectators exclaimed, “What was that?! I was hiding from the wind, I heard an explosion, and I did not see it.”
Weather conditions were very difficult on Sunday’s race (June 30th, 2013). Devil’s Playground are is at around 12,900 ft above sea level, and air temperature never exceeded 48 F. In fact, it was in the lower 40s to upper 30s for most of the afternoon. Sebastien was lucky as hail and snow/rain mix started to fall about an hour after his run. Still, road surface was very cold as Peugeot team engineers were relaying the information down to the starting line just before his run. Wind was there, but not as strong as in previous years. You can say, Pikes Peak was kind to Sebastien.
Loeb’s Peugeot averaged 87.471 MPH on its way up – another number the spectators who drove the road that morning had a difficult time believing. Onboard telemetry showed that he maxed out the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes at least two times at a speed of 241 km/hour or about 150 MPH. Wow!
Not only did Sebastien Loeb destroyed the previous record of 9:46.181 (set last year by Rhys Millen), he also crushed the competition. Rhys Millen updated 2013 Hyundai PM580T race car came in second with a time of 9:02.192, which is also an incredible result. Jean-Philippe Dayraut came in third with a time of 9:42.740 at the wheel of specially prepared 2011 Mini Countryman race car. Romain Dumas had a DNF with a mechanical problem.
Get race times for all the 2013 PPIHC Competitors
Please check this exciting video of Sebastien’s run:
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFLcar since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or simply ‘going for a drive’.