High ambitions for Romain Dumas ahead of Pikes Peak !
Pikes Peak pole sitter Romain Dumas completed the final practice sessions on Thursday and Friday. The defending champion and 2014 winner will head back up the mountain on Sunday, June 25 for the event’s 95th edition. Driving the Norma MXX RD Limited, he will be looking to take a third overall victory and improve on his personal best time, the second fastest in the history of the race, behind Sébastien Loeb’s record established in 2013.
Progress continues for the Norma MXX RD Limited…
Following qualifying on the lower section of the course, in which he scored pole position, Romain Dumas continued his meticulous preparation for the « race to the clouds » : five runs on the middle section on Thursday and two runs on the top sector on Friday before the day was cut short due to fog. The Norma MXX RD Limited was fitted with race parts for this final session and Romain was nevertheless able to conduct one final systems check.
On each day, whether practice or qualifying, the Alès native signed the fastest time. He also confirmed the constant progress made to the Norma MXX RD Limited, showing good potential. For race day, he’ll have to put everything together in order to complete the course with the fastest time possible.
« We feel good heading into the race. We made progress run after run, and day after day » explains Romain. « We’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. Like every year, we wish we could have more time to practice, but the team did a good job. The energy and time invested by the team members during this intensive week is as impressive as ever. On every level, we’ve made progress : the chassis and engine, top end performance, and driver comfort. We have a better understanding of the car thanks to the joint work done by RD Limited and Norma. We wanted a car that was better on every level. And that’s now the case. We’ve found our strengths, we’re discovering a few new ones, and we’re taking on the few weak spots, since there are always a few. We now have some time to analyze all of the data and get ready for race day. We can realize some great things come Sunday ! »
As is typical with the unpredictable nature of Pikes Peak, certain external factors made their appearance for the final day of practice. Fog shortened the Friday running for competitors practicing on the very top portion of the course. And according to some predictions, the weather could be a factor in this 95th edition.
« Our last day of prep didn’t go as planned because of the fog that kept us from running » explains Romain. « That’s a big factor when it comes to such an important sector of the mountain road, and it’s a little glimpse of what we could see on Sunday. I had that bitter experience in 2012 and I hope we have good conditions for the race in order to show what our potential really is. The win is our primary objective and the time is another important goal. We say it every year, Pikes Peak is a very unique event. We try to prepare as best we can, but year after year, it’s a whole new adventure that is best experienced rather than told. Despite that, it’s up to us to write a new chapter in the history books. »
The start of the 95th edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be given on June 25 at 8 a.m. local time. Romain Dumas will make his run following the motorcycle classes. Also entered by the RD Limited outfit, Laure Many will be taking part in her first race to the clouds. Entered in the Pikes Peak Open class, in which Romain holds the record, with a Porsche 911 SC 3.0l Gr4. Laure will be the only woman driver to compete in 2017.
The race will be available via live stream on the organizer’s website : www.ppihc.com.