The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as The Race to the Clouds, is an annual automobile and motorcycle hillclimb to the summit of Pikes Peak inColorado, USA. The track measures 12.42 miles (19.99 km) over 156 turns, climbing 4,720 ft (1,440 m) from the start at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway, to the finish at 14,110 ft (4,300 m), on grades averaging 7%.
Per Eklund was a Saab factory driver from 1970 to 1979. In 1982, however, the year after Saab discontinued its official rallying involvement, he achieved the brand’s last top position in a World Championship event, finishing fourth in the Swedish Rally driving a privately entered, Clarion-sponsored Saab 99 Turbo.
He was always proud of that result, since the competition consisted mostly of four-wheel-drive cars, and the event was run in snow. This signified the end of the rally era at Saab, even though Eklund went on to drive an officially-entered Saab 900 Turbo in the British round of the 1997 World Rally Championship. He was Swedish Champion in 1978, beating his team mate Stig Blomqvist. In 1982 Eklund finished 5th overall of the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers.
In 2000 Per Eklund achieved the still valid record time of 11:21.58 in his Saab 9-3 Viggen 4×4 while racing the Pikes Peak Open category.
In 2002 Per Eklund takes the Unlimited Class Victory. Eklund and his Saab’s performance defeated the second place Unlimited Class entry and long-time Swedish rival Stig Blomqvist by over 34 seconds with a time of 11:13.20.