Sebastien Loeb's record has been annihilated at the 2018 hillclimb.
Romain Dumas has toppled Sebastien Loeb's record at the Pikes Peak Hillclimb, hustling his Volkswagen I.D. R up the 19.99km course in 7:57.148 this morning.
That's a full 16 seconds faster than Loeb and his Peugeot 208 T16 managed in 2013, and Dumas actually told reporters he could have gone faster if the clouds cloaking the hillclimb's summit had dissipated.
Volkswagen wasn't openly targeting Loeb's record with the I.D. R, instead talking about the 8:57.118 all-electric mantle held by Rhys Millen in the lead-up to the event, but the combination of an electric powertrain, light weight and plentiful downforce were enough to send the I.D. R straight to the top.
With 500kW on tap from its four electric motors, and a kerb weight of just 1100kg, the R enjoys a few advantages over its internal-combustion competitors. The summit of Pikes Peak is 4302m above sea level, where the thin air puts combustion-powered cars at a serious disadvantage.
Four-wheel drive with complex torque-vectoring is also pretty handy, when you consider there's 156 corners making up the course.
“This is a fantastic day for Volkswagen and one of which we are very proud," said Sven Smeets, VW Motorsport's director.
"The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the most innovative and complex car ever developed by Volkswagen Motorsport. Every employee involved in the Pikes Peak project has constantly had to push their boundaries and show extreme commitment and dedication."
This isn't the first time Volkswagen has taken on Pikes Peak, although it's the first time the company has been successful. In 1987, it entered with a twin-engine Golf capable of running in front-, rear- or all-wheel drive thanks to its complex transmission. As it turns out, it was too complex, and the car failed to reach the finish line.
Oh, and as for the non-Volkswagen entrants in Pikes Peak, the second-placed driver (Simone Faggioli, Norma M20 SF PKP) completed the run in 8:37.230, while Peter Cunningham and is 2018 Acura TLX GT snuck in for third place with a 9:27.352.
MORE: Volkswagen I.D. coverage