After his initial shock at the physicality of the Peugeot 208 T16’s performance, Sébastien Loeb has continued his induction to the ‘beast’ at one of the most legendary stages of the famous Tour de France cycle race.
Mont Ventoux, in the south of France, might be 5,000 miles away from Colorado, but its characteristics make it an ideal venue for developing the 868bhp beast. It cannot simulate the altitude of Pikes Peak, but it’s high and twisty and should provide the team with valuable data about the way the car performs in practice.
It’s the first time Loeb’s 208 T16 Pikes Peak car has been seen in its official colours, and the pictures with it alongside Peugeot’s 405 T16 show just how un-208 like it is in size.
Since its first outing in the hands of the nine-time world rally champion, the car has covered a high number of kilometres pounding round a circuit driven by Sébastien Loeb’s understudy, test driver Grégory Guilvert.
After his recent victory on the World Rally Championship’s Rally Argentina and debut in last weekend’s Porsche Supercup race in Barcelona, Loeb was happy to be reacquainted with his 208 T16.
His first comment was how the striking new livery had in no way detracted from its grunt. “It’s the same beast of a car,” he beamed after his first run. “Driving it on a real road is a very useful pointer because that is what awaits us at Pikes Peak. Its handling is extremely responsive but I’m still not quite able to place it as precisely as I would like. That’s something we will need to work on a little more..”
Development will now continue in the United States, where the 208 T16 Pikes Peak is due to be flown out to at the end of the month.
We’ll have an official video of Loeb’s Mont Ventoux adventures in a fortnight from now, but in the meantime enjoy the one below from videos2rallye26.com.