Spa: Peugeot qualifying report

A THIRD POLE POSITION FOR PEUGEOT The 2008 Le Mans Series calendar carries on at the same whirlwind pace but the results continue to confirm the potential of the 908 HDi FAP and the quality of the work put in by Peugeot Total as it builds up to...

A THIRD POLE POSITION FOR PEUGEOT

The 2008 Le Mans Series calendar carries on at the same whirlwind pace but the results continue to confirm the potential of the 908 HDi FAP and the quality of the work put in by Peugeot Total as it builds up to the year's priority, the Le Mans 24 Hours. Today's qualifying for the third round of the LMS at Spa saw the team claim its third pole in a row thanks to Stephane Sarrazin during what turned out to be something of a 'stop and go' session...

Once again, Peugeot Total chose not to go out at the very beginning of the session as McNish's Audi R10 posted the first serious lap third time round a 1m 58.705s before red flags were shown when the Lola-Mazda went off. When action resumed 15 minutes later, the two Peugeots driven by Stephane Sarrazin (N8) and Marc Gene (N7) took to the track, but the Spaniard only had time to manage a 2m 1.799s before red flags came out again six minutes before the end. That left the drivers with just enough time for two flying laps, and consequently no margin for error. In the end, Stephane Sarrazin only needed one flyer to secure pole thanks to a 1m 58.069s which maintains the Frenchman's 100% record following his qualifying performance in Spain! Meanwhile, Marc Gene succeeded in bagging the third best time with the other 908 HDi FAP, a 1m 58.787s, more than a second quicker than Nicolas Minassian's pole-winning lap in 2007 (2m 0.105s).

The small gaps at the sharp end point to a close race tomorrow. Portugal's Pedro Lamy will start with the N8 car and Nicolas Minassian will be in the N7 machine when the field is flagged away at 12.50pm (Sunday, May 11) for the 1,000km (143 laps) or six-hour race.

Stephane SARRAZIN: "It's always difficult to stay concentrated when a session is interrupted by two red flag incidents as it was today. I found my car easy to drive and nicely balanced through both the tight and faster turns. Even so, my best lap wasn't perfect because I wanted to get a decent time under my belt. My car deserved better!" Marc GENE: "I'm very disappointed. My car oversteered, but we will do what we can to sort that out so that we can challenge for victory tomorrow..."

Bruno FAMIN: "I am pleased with today's result because it means we keep up our unbeaten Le Mans Series qualifying record. There's a big gap over the competition which hasn't been idle as far as new technical evolutions are concerned. We are going to take a fresh look at our strategy in the future, though, because we are taking a risk by going out late in the session. I think it's going to be a close fight tomorrow and it is important for the championship that we finish races."

-credit: peugeot

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy