Road Atlanta: Peugeot preview

TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL LOOKS AHEAD TO 2009 After a particularly intensive and fiercely-fought campaign in 2008, Peugeot Sport has already started to look ahead to next season and has stepped up its work programme which began several months ago. Its...

TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL LOOKS AHEAD TO 2009

After a particularly intensive and fiercely-fought campaign in 2008, Peugeot Sport has already started to look ahead to next season and has stepped up its work programme which began several months ago. Its visit to Road Atlanta stands out as a key session with a view to acquiring additional experience and furthering the development of the 908 HDi FAP.

Building on the lessons it has learnt over the past two years in top-flight endurance racing, Peugeot has shifted its attention to 2009. In addition to the regulation changes which have ensured a busy workload for the team, gaining further race experience is a key part of this build-up programme. As announced last month, Team Peugeot Total will shortly travel to Road Atlanta for October's Petit Le Mans race, a 10-hour (or 1,000 miles) race which stands out as the third longest of the year after the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Following the incidents that marked the final round of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Silverstone, however, only one 908 HDi FAP will now make the trip out to the USA. "The incidents at Silverstone have called for us to otherwise commit technical resources which were initially planned for Road Atlanta," says Peugeot Sport Director Michel Barge. "It is important for Peugeot to take part in this race in order for the team and the technical department to gain even more experience. To ensure we have the necessary resources that our participation in this race requires, just as we did at Sebring earlier this year, we have consequently decided to enter just one car."

The No 908 HDi FAP will feature a grey livery and will be shared by Frenchmen Nicolas Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin, along with Austria's Christian Klien who will arrive directly from the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix. "Portugal's Pedro Lamy will also make the journey out to the States for the pre-race test session. That will enable us to profit from his knowledge of this extremely specific circuit," points out Serge Saulnier, Team Manager. Nicolas Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin have previous experience of Road Atlanta, too: Nicolas started the 2006 race on pole-position in a Creation, while Stephane claimed GT1 success the same year with Aston Martin.

Profiting from its first visit to Road Atlanta to further the development of the 908 HDi FAP, Team Peugeot Total will take part in the preliminary practice session at the circuit (September 27-28) which is scheduled the week before the team's second American Le Mans Series appearance of the year. Another objective of the entry will be to gain extra experience in race conditions, since the 2008 Le Mans Series calendar was based on just five rounds, plus the Le Mans 24 Hours. This hilly circuit puts strategy to the test because of the heavy traffic and the frequent safety car interventions. "We face some stiff competition since all the makes which take part in the ALMS will be present," concludes Michel Barge. "This will enable us to gain valuable additional experience for the future."

-credit: peugeot sport

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Series ALMS
Drivers Nicolas Minassian , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Christian Klien , Michel Barge