Sebastien Loeb, the most successful driver is rally history, broke the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record this past weekend with a time of 8 minutes and 13.878 seconds in the Unlimited class. Breaking the record is an understatement as Loeb out did the previous record by over one minute at an average speed of 90mph.
A previous record time of 9 minutes and 46.164 seconds was set by Rhys Millen last year. Considering the Peugeot Sport's computer had estimated the time of 8 minutes and 15 seconds, Loeb was even surprised he beat the estimated time by two seconds.
"I'm really happy as that was a very good run in the end," said Loeb. "I really didn't expect anything better than eight minutes and 15 seconds, so to do eight minutes and 13 seconds was fantastic. Before the start I didn't really know if I should push absolutely to the maximum or if I should just push to a comfortable pace, in order to make sure of the victory. In the end, I decided to push to the limit."
Loeb started out in front of the Unlimited class, and while the mountain itself is dangerous to race, Loeb and the team also grew concerned about the approaching unpredictable weather conditions. "When I was on the start line waiting to go, I could actually see the clouds closing in at the top of the mountain," said Loeb. "I remember thinking that if we didn't get going soon, it would be really difficult."
In second place, Rhys Millen, driving the all-new Hyundai RMR PM580-T, was far behind Loeb with a large gap of 49 seconds. Millen did beat even his own previous record with a new time of 9 minutes and 02.192 seconds.
"I think it's fair to say that we were racing for second place today," said Millen. "Myself and Romain Dumas had been really close throughout practice, but then I heard that his engine had unfortunately broken at the start. I knew I wasn't going to beat Sebastien's time, so I just decided to take no risks. You have to hand it to Loeb and Peugeot Sport: they were unbeatable. That time they set was simply incredible. When will it be beaten? It might never be..."