Hill Climb

France’s Romain Dumas celebrates atop his car after reaching the summit Sunday to become the first to break the 8-minute mark in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb with a record of 7:57.418.

Despite countless checkered flags, every race is stressful for Romain Dumas.

But for the Volkswagen driver looking to break the electric and overall record at the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, this one was a bit more stressful.

Add a 40 minute delay due to a spectator illness and a motorcycle wreck, and Dumas was eager to get behind the wheel as the top-ranked unlimited driver.

And once he was in the driver’s seat, if you blinked, you missed him.

Dumas crushed the electric and overall Pikes Peak Hill Climb record crossing the finish line in under eight minutes with an official time of 7:57.418.

Early reports speculated that Dumas’ 2018 Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak was superior to eO PP100 driven by Rhys Millen that set the electric record in 2016. But the overall record, set by Sebastien Loeb in 2013 has held strong for five years.

Dumas and his Volkswagen team beat the electric record by nearly a minute, and claimed the overall title by more than 16 seconds.

“It was a good run finally under eight after so many times trying,” Dumas said. “Congratulations to Volkswagen for making a car like that in eight months. The mechanics and everything, to make a car like that fully electric make it in under eight minutes, the technology is not so easy. In the end I just drive the car. Without a good car I cannot win.”

Dumas said he encountered some fog in the first sector that caused him to lose some time, but he pushed through the sun in the third sector to help get his time.

“You know this is Pikes Peak with the weather,” Dumas said. “We had no problems with the car at all which is nice because this was the first time we made it all the way through at high speed.”

As the day continued, drivers reported the last turn and the finish line started to become slick as low clouds and moisture began to move across the summit.

Dumas said he was unavailable for some of the time leading up to the race because of other racing commitments, and credits other drivers on his crew for being here to make sure the car was running smoothly on race day.

“He was a little bit of my right foot because without them, for sure it wasn’t possible to test the car so many times,” Dumas said. “The team was incredible, the atmosphere incredible and the challenge was incredible. I have a lot of emotion because it’s like a dream, but I’m also very happy the race is done … I’m waiting to sleep for a few weeks because I am very tired.”

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