Yesterday, Red Bull released the official video of Sébastien Loeb’s latest test in his 208 T16 Pikes Peak as he prepares for next month’s Pikes Peak hill climb.
He was at Mont Ventoux in the south of France, famous as a stage of the Tour de France cycle race, where he was joined by Peugeot’s other star, the iconic 405 T16 Pikes Peak, which smashed the Colorado records in 1988 in the hands of Ari Vatanen.
Peugeot used the last six kilometres of Mont Ventoux for practice, which although not as steep as the famous hill climb gave Loeb a chance to push the 208 T16 Pikes Peak and feel its full 863bhp.
“It’s not the power that impresses me anymore; I’ve got used to it,” said Loeb. “It’s the speed at which the corners leap out at you which is more striking than round a circuit where there’s always a ‘100-metre’ board to show you where to brake. Here, you can be in fifth or sixth gear and you suddenly see mountainside ahead of you; you have to work out for yourself where you need to brake..”
Peugeot Sport’s Jean-Christophe Pailler, who is in charge of the project’s technical aspects, saw the open-air session as a dress rehearsal both for the team and the 208 T16 Pikes Peak: “The mechanics and engineers need to familiarise themselves with working on the car in real-life conditions. They are getting an increasingly better grasp of how it responds to set-up changes and are analysing the tiniest detail or piece of feedback from Seb to refine its settings. It’s a learning process for everyone.”
Both car and team are now heading to Colorado for more testing on the course, which will be available on a section-by-section basis on June 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16.
The event will then run in earnest from June 24 until June 30, which is when the 208 T16 Pikes Peak’s promise and Sébastien Loeb’s undoubted talent will be tested for real.