Meet the Legends of Pikes Peak
We're off to the famous race this weekend and these are the people that make Race to the Clouds smashing
Posted: 08 Aug 2012
If you've not seen the Greatest Car-Based Film That's Not Top Gear, you should really click on these blue words.
And if you have, and have ever wondered who the hell was born with big enough he-bits to spank a Peugeot 405 T16 with such valiant malice up a very steep bit of Colorado, we'll tell you - it's Ari Vatanen.
But what on earth were a Finnish rally driver and a French Group B-era turbo death catcher doing in the middle of America? In 1987 Peugeot wanted a bit of PR in the USA and resolved to conquer the legendary hillclimb. Which they very nearly did, first time out. Alas, a broken turbo hose scuppered the inaugural attempt - handing victory to Walter Rohrl - so it had to wait to the following year and the 405 Turbo 16.
He says: "Pikes Peak is the absolute ultimate race. Fantastic in a car that accelerates from 0 to 200kph in less than ten seconds, weighs only 900 kilos and has 600bhp, four-wheel-drive and four-wheel-steering. It's the ultimate - nothing else comes close in the sporting aspect.
"You're on your own in the car and there's just that one attempt to go the whole way. In practice you're only allowed to cover one third of the climb at a time and in qualifying it's half the distance. So that creates a special pressure and conquering it just gives a fantastic feeling. We should live our lives as passionately as we drive up Pikes Peak."