This year the big news about the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is about who isn't showing up. Sebastien Loeb, fresh off his record setting run last year, hasn't bothered coming back (and probably won't unless someone breaks his record). The Millen family is also noticeably absent. Rhys and Rod have been driving here for the past couple of decades but it looks like Rhys is focusing his efforts on Global RallyCross.
Last year Pikes Peak added a fourth practice day on Tuesday to allow drivers to get more time on the mountain. It's an optional practice day, but most drivers show up.
Today, both Time Attack divisions (1 and 2) as well as Unlimited division drove the lower third of the mountain. Pikes Peak Open, Open Wheel, Electric Production, Electric Modified, Exhibition and Vintage all practiced on the middle section, and bikes power sports did the top section.
At the bottom of the hill, Romain Dumas opened up the account marking his third year on the mountain, trying to become the overall champion after narrowly missing out to Rhys Millen two years ago. He was by far the fastest in the Unlimited Division in his 2013 Norma, more than 24 seconds ahead of Piero Nappi in a 2010 Picchio. Also on the lower slopes, Jeff Zwart topped the Time Attack 1 group with the second fastest time of the day overall, putting him 24 seconds ahead of Vincent Beltoise. Of the two men who finished ahead of Zwart last year, Paul Dallenbach has switched to the Open Wheel Challenge class and David Donner isn't racing.
Monster Tajima, former record holder for the mountain, brought his E-Runner out for the third year, and while he won the Electric division last year, he'll have his hands full with the pair of Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III racecars, both of which ran about 7 seconds faster.
Tomorrow, qualifying will start (the bottom section is used for qualifying), with each of the groups running the same sections of the mountain as today. Meanwhile, you can get ready by checking out the full list of competitors and all of the first day's practice results for the lower section, middle section and upper section. FYI, the latter two groups of competitors aren't sorted by name, only race number, so you'll want to keep that competitor list handy.