Spa: Peugeot qualifying report

AN ALL-PEUGEOT FRONT ROW The 1000km de Spa marks the final opportunity to test in race conditions before the Le Mans 24 Hours, and Team Peugeot Total has spent the last two days fine-tuning its set-ups. The two 908 HDi FAP machines set the...

AN ALL-PEUGEOT FRONT ROW

The 1000km de Spa marks the final opportunity to test in race conditions before the Le Mans 24 Hours, and Team Peugeot Total has spent the last two days fine-tuning its set-ups. The two 908 HDi FAP machines set the fastest times in this afternoon's qualifying session and will start from the front row tomorrow at 12:50.

Although the first free practice session was interrupted by changeable weather conditions, and the second by a number of red flag incidents, the team was still able to learn a lot.

After being selected to take part in qualifying, Simon Pagenaud took the wheel of the No.7908 HDi FAP and Alex Wurz the No.9 car. They both went out at the start of the session, and needed just a single timed lap to put their cars on the front row, with Pagenaud setting a time of 2m 1.556s and Wurz 2m 1.082s. Other competitors, including Aston Martin, tried to knock the Peugeots off top spot but two red flags during the 20-minute session prevented them from doing so. The Peugeot drivers were also able to save their tyres for the start of the race, after completing just one flying lap.

At 12:50 tomorrow, Sunday May 10, Nicola Minassian (908 HDi FAP No.7 with Pagenaud/Klien) and Marc Gene (908 HDi FAP No.9 with Brabham/Wurz) will take the start of the 20091000km de Spa.

Simon Pagenaud: "We did a good job with the team and the car is just incredible to drive. I went as fast as I could, but it wasn't that straightforward: we only did one timed lap and, even though I tried to make sure I got a clear lap, I was still held up by an LMP2 car. After testing the car at Le Castellet a few days ago, and driving it here, I think I've got to grips with the car. It's an amazing machine, although I'm still getting used to having a windscreen, which slightly interrupts my vision." Alexander Wurz: "I was happy to be qualifying the car and it's good for the team that I'm on the front row. But it's a shame I missed out on pole by just 26 hundredths of a second!"

Olivier Quesnel: "I'm satisfied with our positions but more so with the way we achieved them. I never doubted we'd set the fastest times, but I was delighted with the team's rigour and professionalism. Our priority tomorrow is to look after the cars and give the team practice in race conditions, particularly in terms of refuelling and tyre changes. We may not start with the same settings on both cars. Our main objective is to prepare for Le Mans and to give our drivers equal mileage in the car.

"We also wanted to prepare our reserve driver, Simon Pagenaud. He did a good job, settled in well and adapted to the car. We're on track and, if we have a chance to win, we'll take it. But I want to stress that we won't be taking any unnecessary risks. We don't, in any circumstances, want to build another car before Le Mans."

-credit: peugeot

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Marc Gene , Alexander Wurz , Simon Pagenaud , Olivier Quesnel