ENCOURAGING FOR LE MANS
Qualifying was interrupted early into the session following a red flag incident which deprived the new Peugeot 908s of a chance to post a flying lap. As a result, Simon Pagenaud’s car was forced to start from 18th position on the grid, but the race soon provided an eloquent glimpse of the competitive potential of the French make’s latest endurance racing challenger.
It was very positive as we prepare for Le Mans.
From the start, Simon’s team-mate Sébastien Bourdais began to slice his way through the field to complete the opening lap in fourth place! Pedro Lamy was next in the car and, two-and-a-half hours into the race, the N°9 Peugeot was up to second spot, sandwiched between the other two factory 908s.
Lamy covered three stints, but a mistake unfortunately dropped him back from second place. Simon Pagenaud then took over the wheel but lost all hope of making it an all- Peugeot podium when he was forced to make a pit-stop to replace the car’s front-right corner. Bourdais, Lamy and Pagenaud ended up crossing the line in eighth place, while Simon gave an illustration of his speed by posting the fastest race lap. Peugeot’s onetwo finish confirmed that the new 908 is competitive and that the team is capable of beating its big rival, Audi. That’s an encouraging pointer ahead of June’s Le Mans 24 Hours, although there is still a great deal of work to be done if the team is to repeat its triumph of two years ago...
“It was a very interesting race which gave us a chance to see where we stand in comparison with the Audis. We were able to work on the set-up of the 908 and our engineers came up with some useful ideas thanks to the feedback they got from all the team’s drivers. I am globally pleased with the weekend. It was very positive as we prepare for Le Mans. Not only did Peugeot come first and second but we also succeeded in collecting lots of valuable data. In wasn’t our day in the N°9 car, however. That said, Le Mans promises to be a very different picture altogether and I hope we will be more successful in la Sarthe. We can hardly wait to get to Le Mans and I believe we will see a very close fight between the Audi and Peugeot crews. We are all in tip-top shape.”