Pikes Peak, Practice : Romain Dumas in top form on the mountain…
Romain Dumas has completed the fourth and final practice day of the legendary Pikes Peak hill climb. After signing the fastest qualifying time on Wednesday, the Alès, France native reaffirmed his competitiveness in the Norma M20 « RD Limited » : in the final session, held on the upper portion of the mountain, he again claimed the fastest time. Also entered under the Romain Dumas Rallye Team banner, Vincent Beltoise is in the top three of his class « Time Attack » driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
With the fastest time in all three practice sessions (one for each section of the road) and in qualifying, both in the Unlimited class and overall, Romain Dumas completed a solid preparation for Sunday’s race. The last tests completed on Friday continued in the right direction.
« This last session was conclusive, partly because it’s a difficult portion of the road, and partly because it’s our last chance to fine-tune the car for the race » explains Romain. « The three runs on the upper portion went well, just as the other runs on the lower sections. We made a few changes to the settings from yesterday and they were positive, notably in the fast sections and over the bumps. I’m more confident in the car and the performance is there. We progressed in all three sectors compared to last year. That’s a good sign and it shows that the work we did was in the right direction. »
For his third participation in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and following a second place overall finish in 2012, Romain Dumas is aiming for victory in his Norma M20 « RD Limited ». « Keeping in mind our competitiveness and how the practice went, it’s hard to talk about any other objective other than first place » he admits. « The variety in the route is one of the difficult points of Pikes Peak, but I think we have well balanced car. It is agile in the tight corners, efficient in fast curves and we took a huge step forward with the engine. The Norma is an excellent prototype and does well here, now it’s up to us to confirm that potential with a better result. We have to put each sector together without making any errors. We are at the foot of the mountain, but we start with the fastest qualifying time, which is good. »
This year, Romain Dumas Rallye Team has entered a second car for Vincent Beltoise, a Pikes Peak rookie. Driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, he claimed the second fastest time in the Time Attack 1 class in each of the three sessions, including qualifying.
« I’m very happy with how practice went. » he said. « First of all, because this climb is amazing, and then also because I’m having a blast in the Porsche. I feel like I worked well with the entire tream : we consistently progressed in all the sector despite limited running time. It’s an enriching experience with a unique format : practice takes place at sun up, and the road changes a lot between each run and you have to deal with difficult conditions, a dirty road surface, or the sun in your eyes. I took a few risks in some of the quick sections to up the tempo, but everything went well and I’m confident ahead of this unique event. »
The start of the 92th edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be given at 8 am (local time) on Sunday, June 29. The motorcycle riders will take to the mountain first.