Although this will be the first time the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has been run on a fully prepared surface, with tarmac cover the entire course, there are still obstacles to be overcome. During the morning briefing ahead of the first official practice runs, for example, the Race Director warned drivers about overnight snow melting onto the surface.

With Peugeot Sport and Sébastien Loeb embarking on their first week of practice, the first step was to put the engine through its paces on a test bench in Colorado Springs to see how it performed at altitude.

That was followed by a shakedown run with the car at a nearby 'Speedway' to check changes made since the car's final test run in France.

Meanwhile, Loeb took time to familiarize himself with the 156 turns that make up the course, assisted by co-driver, Daniel Elena. In total, they completed nine climbs to ensure the World Rally Champion could make precise mental 'pace notes'.

Once the preparations were complete, was it time to give the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak its first taste of the hill, with Saturday's run devoted to the first part of the course, and Sunday's to the second, higher part...

"I feel very confident with the car," confirmed Sébastien Loeb. "That's a reassuring start, if only because of the speeds we get up to. We're already getting close to the limit in many places. All we need to do now is make some detail changes and we will be ready for the Big Day!"

The team will have three more official practice sessions at the end of this week:

  • Friday, June 14 (free practice): 5:30am-8:30am (local time)
  • Saturday, June 15 (free practice): 5:30am-8:30am (local time)
  • Sunday, June 16 (free practice): 5:30am-8:30am (local time)
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