Sébastien Loeb: “The 208 T16 Pikes Peak is a rocket!”
The Frenchman may have seen it all on world rallying's most challenging stages, but his words were far from blasé after his first taste of the 208 T16 Pikes Peak. As the familiarisation process continued, Sébastien Loeb was clearly won over by the unique experience: "I have driven many types of car in my career, but this is very, very different. Its acceleration performance and stopping power are more like those of a Formula 1 single-seater than a rally car. Its handling is fantastic as well; there's so much grip, and the all-wheel drive transmission makes it very stable. It's got huge potential."
Like any thoroughbred, however, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak will need to be broken in, since Sébastien Loeb has no intention of allowing the car to be the one in control. On the contrary! With nine world rally titles to his name, he approaches the mission with his trademark calm, however: "This track isn't very wide and there aren't any run-offs, so I'm taking things one step at a time. I don't know what the car's limits are yet but it was important to do this run on a circuit today. Now we have a better idea of where we stand and a better overview of the car's potential. After that, the challenge will be to try to feel totally at one with the car on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb itself. That will take some work..."
When the big day comes to race to the Colorado summit at an altitude of 4,301 metres, Sébastien Loeb will need to be capable of mastering every buck and kick of the thoroughbred if he is to steer clear of the many pitfalls that await him along the giddy 20-kilometre course. And that will require perfect osmosis between the French champion and his extremely powerful steed.
To give this fusion every chance of happening, Peugeot Sport has scheduled a busy test programme at circuits, on roads and at altitude as the next phase of this extraordinary project which the multiple world rally championship finds particularly stimulating: "I really can't wait to get to drive the 208 T16 Pikes Peak in Colorado!" A little patience, Sébastien. There are now less than two months to go...The 208 T16 Pikes Peak reveals its colors