Pikes Peak : Romain Dumas winner of the race to the clouds!
He had been dreaming of it for as long as he can remember and on his third try, he made it : Romain Dumas has won the legendary Pikes Peak hill climb in the Norma M20 « RD Limited » ! Driving in the Unlimited class, the Alès, France native bested the two official electric Mitsubishi entries. He is the third French driver to win the event, after Michèle Mouton and Sébastien Loeb.
Driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RS also entered by the Romain Dumas Rallye Team, Vincent Beltoise won the Time Attack 1 class on his very first participation in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
« It was a dream to win here and it’s now a reality. »
Second place finisher and best rookie of the 2012 edition, as well as fastest in qualifying and in all practice sessions this year, Romain Dumas had only one goal : overall victory. After nearly 20km of climbing, 156 corners and a finish at over 14,000 feet in altitude, it was done. Romain claimed the fastest time in two of the four sectors that make up the road leading to the highest summit in Colorado. His time was faster than the two factory electric Mitsubishi entries driven by Greg Tracy (2.387 seconds behind) and Hiroshi Masuoka (6.403 seconds behind).
After winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Spa and the Nürburgring, as well as the 12 Hours of Sebring, Romain Dumas has stamped his name in the history books by winning the second oldest race in America.
« I’m very happy, as simple as that» said Romain. « It’s hard to put into words this adventure that started three years ago. The emotions are really high right now. With the whole team, we’ve gone through so much, and we’ve worked so hard…It’s just great to cap it all off with this win. I think there’s a little feeling of redemption because of the disappointment of 2012. It was a dream to win here and it’s now a reality. And to do it with my own team is very special. I have to thank all the guys who put everything they had into this. We tried to get ready for this as best as possible, and we’ve never been more prepared. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together. »
Romain Dumas succeeds Sébastien Loeb and Peugeot, winners in 2013, with another French car, the Norma M20 « RD Limited » developed specifically for this event. « I’m very happy to share this victory with Norma and Norbert Santos, who is so passionate about this race. This immense challenge started after a chance meeting at a petrol station and ever since all we can think of is winning. With Norbert, his collaborators, and my team, we worked together to get this result. The job was not easy, but we did it. On the run, it was very difficult, especially in the final sector. The road was dirty, dusty with temperatures that were higher, which is not to our advantage. It’s not necessarily my funniest run and the final time we were hoping for, but it’s the finishing position we wanted and we are happy with it. »
Vincent Beltoise, rookie and winner !
Racing with the Romain Dumas Rallye Team, Vincent Beltoise was taking part in his very first Pikes Peak behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. A regular driver in the Porsche Carrera Cup, the young Frenchman claimed victory in the Time Attack 1 class. It was a feat considering he bested second place finisher Jeff Zwart by 1.173 seconds, who is a specialist of the Pikes Peak event. Vincent event flirted with a time under the 10 minute mark (10 :00.744).
« How can you not be satisfied after such a week ! » exclaims Vincent Beltoise. « Since the beginning, everything has gone well and the win is a superb conclusion. My goal was to do things right and I hadn’t focused on a particular result. I tried to drive cleanly, make no mistakes while maintaining a fast pace. With the heat and a red flag just before my run, conditions were not ideal, but I knew this race had a lot of unknowns about it. It was complicated, but the confidence I gained during practice was always there. I felt good in the last sector so I pushed.
« To win here on my first try, with Romain’s team, is just fantastic. It’s an incredible experience, both in a purely sporting manner, where I learned a lot, but also in the human way, with lots of great times with the team. I came close to breaking the 10 minute mark as well, but I couldn’t have wished for a better debut here. I’d like to thank everyone who made this possible. »
« Vincent had a super performance » added Romain Dumas. « This race is very difficult to learn. Vincent’s approach was perfect : he did it in a smart way, without putting pressure on himself and he took it step by step to end up winning today. Brave to him because his main rival is a serious competitor who knows all the unique features and secrets of Pikes Peak. Vincent showed all of his qualities : his speed, his learning ability and his focus. For the team, it’s the cherry on top ! A private French team, with two Alès drivers, both taking wins at Pikes Peak, it’s a great accomplishment. Now, we’re ready for new adventures ! »
After this double success at Pikes Peak, the Romain Dumas Rallye Team is looking at several possibilities for the second half of the season.