Wimbledon, the British GP, or Pikes Peak International Hill Climb? Which will you be watching this weekend? Well the good news is you can watch all three.
Thanks to RedBull.tv this year’s race to the clouds will be broadcast for the second screen on Sunday 30th June, and the competition couldn’t be tougher as Loeb in his 863bhp Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak prototype goes up against seasoned campaigner Rhys Millen in his Hyundai Genesis prototype.
With nine World Rally Championships to his name, Sébastien Loeb should have nothing left to prove, but he’s a Pikes Peak rookie and has learned a lot during the practice and qualifying days which reached their nail biting conclusion yesterday.
“You can feel the atmosphere starting to build now,” said Loeb. “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.”
2013 Pikes Peak Programme Schedule
|30 June 2013||12:00 pm – 10:00 pm (BST)||With nine World Rally Championships to his name, Sebastien Loeb has no more mountains left to climb. Or has he? The Frenchman has set his sights on conquering the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Follow LIVE in his tracks as Loeb takes on the race to the clouds in a purpose-built Peugeot 208 T16.|
|30 June 2013||14:40 pm – 14:45 pm (BST)||The first in a series of short documentary films called ‘The Driven Challenges’ has been produced to mark the launch of the all-new Range Rover Sport. Episode 1 tells the story of Paul Dallenbach’s record breaking climb up Pikes Peak in a production standard Range Rover Sport, powered by Land Rover’s 503bhp 5.0-litre supercharged petrol engine.|
|You can watch Land Rover’s 5-minute video here on the right.|
In yesterday’s qualifying the 13 Unlimited class competitors – a category where the only rules are the ones governing safety – completed at least one run over the lower part of the hill climb to set a qualifying time. The fastest qualifier in each class gets to start first, with all the class competitors as a whole deciding which start window they would like to take on Sunday.
Loeb with his 208 T16 Pikes Peak qualified fastest in the class on both runs, but he’s the first to admit it doesn’t count for much in the overall scheme of things.
“It’s not like a race: qualifying isn’t really a crucial part of what goes on here,” said Loeb. “It’s how you perform on the day that counts. You have to rely on your own skills but also the car, the weather and the road conditions as well. Anything can still happen, but obviously we’re here to try and win: that’s our mission and we’ll be disappointed if we don’t achieve it. So far we’ve got off to a really good start.”
Last-year’s winner (and outright record holder) Millen had been touted as Loeb’s biggest rival, but it was Le Mans GT class winner Romain Dumas who came closest in the Norma prototype – nevertheless Loeb completed the 8.30 kilometre course a whole 17 seconds quicker than his fellow Frenchman.
Dumas has had less practice time this year, due to his Le Mans commitment, but as last year’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ he already knows his way up the Colorado mountain’s 156 turns.
Loeb’s second qualifying run was just six tenths of a second quicker than his first run (3m26.153s from 3m26.728s) showing that the pace is consistent and repeatable.
“Sebastien completed two clean qualifying runs with no problems at all. We’re happy with the set up of the car but we’re not taking anything at all for granted,” said Peugeot’s project chief Jean-Christophe Pallier.
“I’m sure we not seen the ultimate pace of our rivals yet. Now the target is to stay fully focussed to achieve our objectives. There’s a slight advantage in starting first, as it means that you definitely won’t be affected by other peoples’ racing incidents, but that doesn’t take anything away from the massive challenge that lies ahead.”
Later today, the competitors get the chance to practise on the upper part of the hill, before the race on Sunday.