Romain Dumas confirms his dark horse status in qualifying !
With only one practice session remaining, this Friday, before the 91st edition of the legendary Pikes Peak hill climb event, Romain Dumas showed well during the various sessions, including qualifying. Driving the Norma M20FC PP, the French driver signed the second fastest time behind Sébastien Loeb, the multiple World Rally champion piloting a factory-backed Peugeot 208 T16.
Winner in the GTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Porsche on Sunday, Romain Dumas immediately caught a flight to Colorado where the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb technical and administrative verifications were awaiting him on Monday. After a first day of testing on Tuesday, the serious affairs began in earnest on Wednesday with qualifying held on the first of three sectors that together make up the event. Romain Dumas took the second spot just behind Sébastien Loeb, and reiterated the performance on Thursday during practice on the second portion of the course, with another second place time in the Unlimited class.
« After getting warmed up on Tuesday with only one run on the first sector, we turned up the heat for the qualifying session » explains Romain Dumas. « With a lot of downforce, the Norma M20FC PP handles well in this portion of the course with many fast corners. We can still progress in terms of the setup, but we’re in the position of underdog behind Sébastien Loeb as we thought. Our first objective is therefore complete. I know there is still time to gain. On Wednesday, with four runs, the practice session was positive with constant improvement. In this section as well, we have some room to gain several seconds, especially in the hairpins. »
Second in the 2012 edition, Romain Dumas feels ready for combat even if he knows the fight will be difficult. « We’re battling with the weapons that we have » he admits. « After these sessions, I’m certain that our choice corresponds well to Pikes Peak’s characteristics. However, we’re up against a major manufacturer, who has already won here in the past, and a nine-time World Rally champion for a driver. It’s up to us to put pressure on them and play every card we have. We still have one day to refine the settings. Currently, it’s satisfying to know that we are ahead of other officially entered brands such as Hyundai or Mitsubishi, and drivers such as Jean-Philippe Dayraut and Monster Tajima, who have more experience in this event. I’d like to thank the whole team who are working very hard. People can’t imagine how devoted they are»
The final practice session will be held on Friday, followed by the Fan Fest in downtown Colorado Springs. The race will be held on Sunday, June 30.