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Red Bulletin Loeb Feature

Red Bulletin Loeb Feature

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Published by AutoweekUSA
A feature on Sebastien Loeb and his ride for the Pike's Peak International Hill Climb. From the Red Bulletin.
A feature on Sebastien Loeb and his ride for the Pike's Peak International Hill Climb. From the Red Bulletin.

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Published by: AutoweekUSA on May 30, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Pikes Peak International HillClimb is a road race for mad menand their cars.Nine-time worldrally champion Sébastien Loebhas had a brand-new Peugeot
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The 208 T16 Pikes Peak was conceived and developedat the Peugeot Sport workshops near Paris.
developed, hoping to winthis year’s race.After 156 wrist-sappingbends over a 12-milecourse, drivers reachthe summit, about14,110 feet high.Loeb and his team reckonhe’ll get to the top of the hillin under 10 minutes:“It’s like rallying ona racetrack.”
its 14th-century castle, about 100 milesrom Paris, have barely roused rom theirslumber this Thursday morning in April.Welcome to the huge, ultra-secretivePeugeot site where all the French brand’slatest models get tested.The monster is none other than the 875horsepower 208 T16 Pikes Peak, which has
ar o in the orest somewhere there is aroar, like the guttural cry o some wildbeast. At rst, the animal sounds like it’smoving around in the distance—and thensuddenly it appears on our wheels. Thesleepy village o La Ferté-Vidame and
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“Pikes Peak is animportant part ofour past.Everyone dreamedof the 205 and405 T16s.”
been developed by Peugeot Sport especially or the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb,the legendary competition where gearheadsscale a mountain as ast as they can. Thisday in France is devoted to the traditionalironing out o any niggles, a seriousmechanical going over. The tension aroundthis Batmobile is palpable.o people know that Peugeot have won theIndianapolis 500 three times. Not a lot o people know that we’ve even won it once,”says Bruno Famin, the director o PeugeotSport. And at some point the idea o Pikes Peak sounded sweet to the ears o the company’sdirectors. Peugeot entered a 700 bhp 405T16 and came away rom Colorado withtwo wins, one at the hands o the relentlessFinnish rally driver Ari Vatanen in 1988, theother at the hands o American Robby Unserone year later. The eect was enormous, thesubconscious impact unexpected. Ater the company’s decision last year todiscontinue the 908 endurance line, whichcompeted in the 24 Hours o Le Mans, there was a sense o urgency in remobilizingdispirited troops. Should they stakeeverything on a one-o gamble, easy toorganize but with an international impact?Should they revisit Pikes Peak?“Pikes Peak is an important part o ourpast,” says 51-year-old Famin. “In ouractories we [displayed] the Pikes Peak 205T16s 1 and 2 and the 405 T16s. They were what everyone dreamed about or years.”Famin joined Peugeot in late 1989, aew weeks beore their last win at Dakar,and is very much the brains behind thissurprise return to the highest hill race onEarth. “Quite a lot o people were let in thelurch when the endurance program ended,”he says. “We said to ourselves, ‘What can we pull o here?’ We had to show thatPeugeot was still competitive. There wassoon debate as to what orm the car shouldtake. I wanted it to look like a standard car.I asked the product and marketing people.Time passed and I didn’t get an answer. So Iopted or the 208 T16.”Last September, Maxime Picat wasappointed managing director or thePeugeot brand. Bogged down in aneconomic and social confict, the new boss was immediately taken with the idea o 
eugeot is playing a trump card here.The company and Pikes Peak have asymbiotic relationship based on nail-biting adrenaline. The manuacturer has won both the World Rally Championshipdrivers’ and constructors’ challengenumerous times, as well as scoring victories in the harrowing Dakar Rally.This year marks the 100th anniversary o Peugeot’s rst win at the Indianapolis500—the manuacturer took home thetrophy in 1913, 1916, and 1919. “Not a lot

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