Romain Dumas and his team return to Pikes Peak for the event’s 100th anniversary!
The 2014 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb winner Romain Dumas will return to the famous mountain in 2016, which marks the 100th anniversary of the race to the clouds. The Alès, France native, who will pilot a new Norma M20 prototype developed by his RD Limited label, will have two goals : become the first two-time French winner, and go under the 9-minute mark. As was the case two years ago, the team will enter a second car, a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, driven by Hugues Ripert in the Time Attack class.
« I couldn’t miss the 100 year anniversary of Pikes Peak ! »
On June 29, 2014, Romain Dumas became the third French driver to win at Pikes Peak, following in the footsteps of Michèle Mouton (1985) and Sébastien Loeb (2013). In his third participation, he became the first Frenchman to win with his own team and in a car that was developed in-house, the Norma M20 RD Limited. A few moments later, Vincent Beltoise completed RD Rallye Team’s success by taking honors in the Time Attack category. Two years later, Romain Dumas is heading back to Pikes Peak as the International Hill Climb celebrates its 100th year. For the occasion, 100 competitors will be at the starting line : 67 cars and 33 bikes. Among them will be a new Norma 20 RD Limited, alongside nine other Unlimited entries and five Electric class entries, including last year’s overall champion Rhys Millen.
« This race has a special meaning in my career, everyone knows this, and I couldn’t miss the 100 year anniversary of Pikes Peak ! » admits Romain Dumas. « The team has been there three times, which may not seem like a lot, but we have so many stories to tell from Pikes Peak. Each edition was an adventure, and the last time in 2014, it was a fabulous experience with mine and Vincent Beltoise’s cars. That said, it wasn’t easy. Behind the wheel I had to fight. Then, It was an emotional moment! I wanted to come back because I still have some unfinished business at the top of that legendary mountain, and 100 years is an exceptional feat for a race. Our mission isn’t easy : I want to win again and beat the 9-minute mark. I’m entirely convinced that one can’t be without the other. »
From the Dakar to Pikes Peak with a stop at Le Mans…
To reach his goal, Romain Dumas has begun developing a new Norma M20 RD Limited prototype which will again carry the #30 from 2014. Starting from an all new chassis, the team will focus on improving every detail – mechanical and aerodynamic – which will help Romain perform even better than in 2014. With his winning time of 9:05.801, Romain holds the third fastest time up the mountain of all time behind Sébastien Loeb, the only driver under the 9-minute mark (8:13.878), and Rhys Millen. « Returning with Norma and Norbert Santos was an obvious choice for me » explains Romain. « He’s put so much passion and energy into this project since 2013. I know we have a good base to work with and that we can accomplish great things. The team knows the car well, which has strong intrinsic qualities, especially its lightweight nature. We also have a few interesting ideas in mind…We’ll have more on that in the coming weeks. In any case, it’s a huge challenge. In the same season, I’ll go from the Dakar, to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and on to Pikes Peak. A grueling cross-country rally, a legendary endurance sportscar race and finally the most incredible hill climbing event on the planet… That’s already an incredible story ! I really hope this upcoming June will be extra special. I’m ultra motivated ! »
A Porsche 911 GT3 RS for Hugues Ripert
Like in 2014, RD Rallye Team will enter a second car, in the Time Attack class. This Porsche 911 GT3 RS – the same chassis Vincent Beltoise used in his victory – will be driven by Hugues Ripert, will carry the #19. Founder of Spark Models, and long-time partner of the team, Hugues raced in the French VdeV Series as well as the Audi R8 LMS Cup China during three season, followed by a stint in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
« I’m thrilled that Hugues will be with us on this return » underlines Romain Dumas. « It was because of him that the Pikes Peak adventure began in 2012 with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. He has a lot of passion for auto racing and Porsche in particular. He’s been with us and supported us on every challenge and I’m excited that he’s entered in this race alongside me. It’s also another dimension of my team, helping gentlemen drivers take on new adventures such as this one. My role will be to guide Hugues on his first Pikes Peak participation. I’d also like to thank the organizers for accepting our two entries. »
With a 20th place finish in the 2016 Dakar Rally with RD Rallye Team, Romain Dumas is once again an official Porsche driver this season. He will race in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in one of two factory Porsche 919 Hybrids. His privateer team, created in 2007, is a regular entrant in both modern and vintage rallies. In addition, his label RD Limited, born in 2014, offers development parts and specific models tailored for R-GT, GT+ and GT10 classes.