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Loeb conducts first test with Pikes Peak Peugeot 208 T16
9 May 2013
Sebastien Loeb got his first opportunity this week to sample the Peugeot 208 T16 he is poised to drive at Pikes Peak.
The nine-time WRC title winner, who took in his third of four outings in the World Rally Championship last weekend, winning in Argentina for the eighth time in succession, drove the car at the high security track at La Ferté-Vidame, in North Western France and was immediately impressed.
“The 208 T16 Pikes Peak is a rocket! It's so powerful!” said the Frenchman, who will run in the famous American event in the premier 'Unlimited Class' at the end of next month. “The first time you drive it, each gear change practically stuns you. The shifts are really brutal, and it takes a little time to anticipate the sudden jarring. You get used to it, but it was quite disorienting to begin with.”
“This track isn't very wide [here] and there aren't any run-offs, so I'm taking things one step at a time. I don't know what the car's limits are yet but it was important to do this run on a circuit today.
“Now we have a better idea of where we stand and a better overview of the car's potential. After that, the challenge will be to try to feel totally at one with the car on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb itself. That will take some work.”
Asked in greater detail about his first impressions of the Peugeot 208 T16, Loeb added that he has 'never driven anything that accelerates so fast'.
“In the lower gears, a F1 car doesn't deliver maximum power. With the Peugeot, though, it is bang, bang, bang as you move up the box from standstill. Due to its four-wheel drive transmission and turbocharged engine, its pull-away performance is phenomenal! You find yourself in sixth gear at 150mph in no time at all!” he continued.
“Due to its aerodynamic downforce and wide tyres, its braking is amazing, too,” he added. “The 208 package is a combination of the best of several worlds: it's got the downforce of a Formula 1 car, the wide tyres of an endurance racing prototype and a differential, like a WRC car...
“I have driven many types of car in my career, but this is very, very different. Its acceleration, performance and stopping power are more like those of a Formula 1 single-seater than a rally car. Its handling is fantastic as well; there's so much grip, and the all-wheel drive transmission makes it very stable.
“It's got huge potential. I really can't wait now to get to drive the 208 T16 Pikes Peak in Colorado!” the Frenchman summed-up.
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