Sebastien Loeb smashes Pikes Peak record

DAVID MCCOWEN
Last updated 14:03 01/07/2013
Fairfax Australia

French rally star Sebastian Loeb has smashed the Pikes Peak Hill Climb record by more than a minute on his first attempt.

Sebastien Loeb, of France,  powers his Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak across the finish line to set a record time of 8:13.87 in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
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Sebastien Loeb, of France, powers his Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak across the finish line to set a record time of 8:13.87 in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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French rally star Sebastien Loeb has secured victory at the Pikes Peak hillclimb.

The nine-time World Rally Champion smashed the course record by more than a minute on his first attempt, recording an 8:13.878 time on the Colorado mountain.

Loeb's car, a 650kW Peugeot 208 T16, had the measure of his rivals including defending champion, New Zealand's Rhys Millen, who lowered his own personal best time in a Hyundai prototype by more than 30sec.

Millen told journalists at Pikes Peak that Loeb, who has semi-retired from the WRC ahead of a move into the World Touring Car Championship with Citroen in 2014, was ''unbeatable'' in the outright class and that his Peugeot was one of the fastest cars the race had ever seen.

The Frenchman's Peugeot was inspired by Ari Vatanen's victorious 405 T16 coupe which won in 1988 and was made famous by the short film Climb Dance.

The Pikes Peak rally is motorsport's own Mount Everest, a treacherous race to the sky with more than 150 turns.

It is one of the oldest contests in motorsport, having hosted competition since 1916.

The course was transformed from gravel to asphalt in 2012, when Millen set a record time of 9:46.164.

Nearly 150 cars and motorcycles competed in this weekend's event.

-Fairfax Media Australia

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