Peugeot hour 18 report

PEUGEOT MAINTAINS ITS CHALLENGE AS RAIN CONTINUES TO FALL The rain which began to fall shortly after 4pm has continued practically without interruption, making the conditions extremely treacherous for all competitors. The N°2 Audi still leads,...

PEUGEOT MAINTAINS ITS CHALLENGE AS RAIN CONTINUES TO FALL

The rain which began to fall shortly after 4pm has continued practically without interruption, making the conditions extremely treacherous for all competitors. The N°2 Audi still leads, but it is joined on the provisional podium by the N°7 and N°9 Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs, with Spaniard Marc Gené putting in a run of almost three hours in the former to keep the pressure on the current leaders.

The arrival of rain just after 4am saw Audi take control as the N°2 and N°3 cars moved into 1st and 3rd respectively. The Peugeots responded well, however, since the N°9 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP successfully recovered 3rd place in the hands of Montagny at 6.33am, while Marc Gené (Peugeot N°7) put the leading Audi (N°2) under constant pressure.

The gap between Gené and McNish (Audi N°2) stabilised at around the 18- second mark, then at about 45 seconds after Gené stopped to change tyres. At just after 7am, the N°8 Peugeot pitted and, in addition to fuel and tyres, it had its front and rear body changed to higher downforce parts. The order went unchanged until the 18-hour mark, with the N°2 Audi tailed by the N°7 and N°9 Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs.

Alexander WURZ (N°8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, 3.25am):

"The track is very slippery with differing levels of grip depending on where you are on the circuit. It could have been so simple to make a mistake. The car is moving about a lot and isn't that comfortable to drive, so we need to find more grip. On the final laps of my run, I tried to help Pedro - who took over from me - by talking him through the trickiest parts of the track, i.e. where it was best to stay on the inside line, for example, or where there was streaming water, etc."

Marc GENE (N°7 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, at 8.20am):

"The conditions changed all the time as a function of where the heaviest rain was falling. I pushed as hard as I could and I don't think I gave anything away, but it was very tough for us against our rivals in the rain. The weather forecasters are predicting more rain between now and the finish and it will be very difficult for us to take the fight to the leading Audi if that turns out to be the case."

Michel BARGE (Director, Peugeot Sport, at 7.30am):

"There are two very close fights going on for first and third places between Peugeot and Audi. Our chances took a blow with the arrival of rain tonight and Audi is coming through it better than us. Our cars lack grip and our opponents have more experience. There is still a long way to go, though, and much will depend on how the weather turns, although it looks like it will stay wet for the next three hours at least."

Pedro LAMY (N°8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, at 8.55am):

"It's quite slippery. Driving in the wet is harder and calls for lots of concentration. The balance of my car wasn't ideal but it was possible to adapt. At least there's no aquaplaning."

Franck MONTAGNY (N°9 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, at 8.35am):

"My run wasn't too bad, but the conditions and tyre choices were difficult because there are some dry portions out there. I finally opted for a type of rain tyre which is designed for drying surfaces. The early part of my run was quite hard. Le Mans is a sprint, and you pay for every mistake."

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Marc Gene