2016 Le Mans winner Romain Dumas takes his second high profile race victory in a week by setting the fastest lap on the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb.
We’re guessing Romain Dumas must be ready for a nap by now. Two weeks ago he was busy taking a shock last lap victory for Porsche in the 919 Hybrid after Toyota’s 11.5th hour failure at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And now the Frenchman has gone and posted the second fastest time ever set on the infamous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
It’s not the first time Dumas has taken overall victory at Pikes Peak, the first being in 2014. Nor was it, quite honestly, the easiest time he’s had on the ‘race to the clouds’. For one thing, multiple technical issues severely hampered both Dumas’ and the his eponymous team’s preparation period during the Pikes Peak practice days, so much so that the Le Mans winner only hit the final sector of the hill climb at pace on the actual run itself. Daunting, not least because the 610kg Norma M20 RD he was piloting housed a 2-litre Honda-powered turbocharged four-cylinder that spat out ‘approximately’ 450bhp. That’s a 738bhp/ton power-to-weight ratio.
Fortunately those sleepless hours were worth the effort. Having beaten second-placed (and reigning event winner) Rhys Millen by nearly six seconds, Dumas also managed to set the fastest lap time on the 100th running of America’s second oldest motor race in under nine minutes. In doing so, the Frenchman’s 8m 51.445s was also the fastest run since Sébastien Loeb’s 8m 18.878s record run in the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak in 2013.
Outside the battle for the top two, another notable contender was Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima in his electric modified E-Runner, the 66-year old keen (as you can see in the below video) to add to his seven King of the Mountain titles. Though the Monster couldn’t beat countryman Tetsuya Yamano in the Honda NSX-based 4-Motor EV to third overall, 9m 51.978s was still enough to secure third in the electric modified class.