Loeb and the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak get their wings
Today at Colorado Springs, the bespoke 875-horsepower Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak passed technical scrutineering at the World Arena close to the city centre, certifying the car to take place in the 91st 'Race to the Clouds' on Sunday June 30. With the technical rules in the Unlimited class being (as the name suggests) unlimited, today's scrutineering was all about ensuring that both the car and the driver's equipment met certain safety standards. Everything was passed with no problems at all.
Sebastien may be a nine-time world rally champion and the most successful driver in the history of the sport, but even that doesn't give him a free pass into Pikes Peak. The Frenchman also had to attend the rookie's briefing for all drivers who are new to the event. "You can feel the atmosphere starting to build now," said Sebastien. "Pikes Peak is a brand new experience for me, so while we have been testing here already, I really don't know what to expect from the actual race. You only get one shot up the hill and there is no second chance, so you have to make sure that you get everything right. So far the car feels fantastic."
The driver and the car are now all set for their attempt to become Kings of the Peak, exactly 25 years since Peugeot last broke the record with Ari Vatanen and the legendary 405 T16.
This morning, Sebastien shook down his car at the Pikes Peak International Raceway, where the Peugeot Sport team is basing itself in preparation for the race. Following some tests on the mountain last week and the week before, Peugeot's mechanics stripped down and rebuilt the 208 T16 Pikes Peak from top to bottom. Today, Sebastien's job was to check that all the systems were working properly. The team does not now plan to change the set-up for the race unless they have to.
The 150 or so competitors – including 13 in the Unlimited class – will get the chance to practice the route during four early morning sessions from Tuesday to Friday this week. On Wednesday, qualifying takes place for the Unlimited runners to determine in which order the competitors start the race on Sunday.
Sunday's action, which can be followed live from the inside of the 208 T16 Pikes Peak on redbull.tv is scheduled to start at 08:00 (local time), with the motorbike section leading the way. We will post details of Sebastien's start time as soon as we know it on Friday.