Sebastien Loeb produced a dominant performance in qualifying for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb after leading the way for Peugeot.

The session was held over the lower part of the iconic hill climb, with Loeb completing his first run through the 8.3 kilometre test some 23 seconds quicker than Romain Dumas.

Having set a time of 3min 26.726secs on his first run, Loeb then lowered his benchmark by six tenths of a second on run two, with Dumas again second; albeit 17 seconds off the pace.

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"Sebastien completed two clean qualifying runs with no problems at all," Peugeot's project chief Jean-Christophe Pallier. "We're happy with the set up of the car but we're not taking anything at all for granted. I'm sure we not seen the ultimate pace of our rivals yet. Now the target is to stay fully focussed to achieve our objectives.

"There's a slight advantage in starting first, as it means that you definitely won't be affected by other peoples' racing incidents, but that doesn't take anything away from the massive challenge that lies ahead."

Loeb was able to benefit from the fact that he been able to spend more time testing at the venue than a number of his rivals - such as Dumas who headed to Colorado straight from competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

As such, the nine-time WRC champion admitted he wasn't getting carried away about his chances for the main event, which takes place over the full Pikes Peak course on Sunday.

"It's not like a race: qualifying isn't really a crucial part of what goes on here, " he said. "It's how you perform on the day that counts. You have to rely on your own skills but also the car, the weather and the road conditions as well.

"Anything can still happen, but obviously we're here to try and win: that's our mission and we'll be disappointed if we don't achieve it. So far we've got off to a really good start."

Loeb is one of 13 drivers competing in the Unlimited class this year.