|Sebastien Loeb pictured here with Ken Block during his last visit to the USA, Loeb walked away with the Gold at XGAMES 2012. Picture Neil McDaid|
Nine-time WRC World Rally Championship winner Sebastien Loeb of France has entered the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, adding more international luster to the nation’s second-oldest motor sports event behind the Indy 500 and helping to make the field the best in the race’s storied history..
The 91st running of the race will be held on Sunday, June 30 with the help and support of title sponsors Discount Tires, Hankook Tire USA and TCI Tire Centers.
Loeb will be behind the wheel of a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak which is being built for the Race to the Clouds, and details of the high-powered auto will be released later this month. He’ll be entered in the powerful Unlimited division.
His entry in the 12-driver Unlimited division means that he will up against the legendary Rhys Millen, who established the all-time speed record on the Peak last year with a clocking of 9:46.164 in the Time Attack division. Millen has moved to the Unlimited field this year in a new purpose-built Hyundai PM580T.
Peugeot’s entry marks its first attempt on Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, since back-to-back triumphs in its 405 T16 model in 1988 and 1989 by Ari Vatanen and Robby Unser in the Open Rally division, which now is the Unlimited division.
Driving for Citroën’s World Rally Team, Loeb won every World Rally Championship from 2004-2012 and is running in second place in this year’s series. He’s being loaned to Peugeot for Pikes Peak in an attempt to win the famed race, which began in 1916.
Loeb finished second in the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, and was named the French Sportsman of the Year in 2007 and 2009.
Last summer, he won the Gold medal in Rally Car Racing at the X Games in Los Angeles in addition to his lengthy list of triumphs. He’s won the Monte Carlo rally in seven of the last eight outings, too.
“Pikes Peak is a one-off outing which has the potential to generate extensive media coverage and which meets the constraints of the current context.” said Peugeot CEO Maxime Picat. “It is a legendary race that has inspired all the Brand’s teams who have mobilized behind the project which targets outright victory. It is also a tough, exceptional challenge which leaves no room for error. In other words, it’s exactly the sort of challenge that Peugeot adores.”
Peugeot has maximized its chances of winning by enlisting the support of some of the biggest and best partners for the project, including Total, Red Bull, Michelin as well as nine-time World Rally champion Loeb.
“Our objective is to win,” continued Picat, “so we needed to stack up as many cards as possible in our favor by joining forces with the very best partners for this unique project. Indeed, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Citroën for this one-off ‘loan’ of its exceptional champion. Citroën’s support is emblematic of the cohesion that reigns within the PSA Peugeot Citroën group.”
PPIHC Tickets Available Now
Fans of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb can purchase tickets now for the June 30, 2013 race and assure themselves a spot on the Peak for what promises to be the best in the event’s long and storied history.
General admission seats are priced at $40.00 each, and the popular Family Four-Pack is priced at $135.00 when purchased in advance.
Tickets may be purchased on the PPIHC official website: www.ppihc.com
Picture: Neil McDaid