A STRONG START FOR PEUGEOT After monopolising both pole-position and the front row throughout 2007, Peugeot kicked off its 2008 LMS campaign in perfect fashion today by securing the top two times in qualifying for Sunday's 1,000km de Catalyuna...
A STRONG START FOR PEUGEOT
After monopolising both pole-position and the front row throughout 2007, Peugeot kicked off its 2008 LMS campaign in perfect fashion today by securing the top two times in qualifying for Sunday's 1,000km de Catalyuna with its two Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs. Stephane Sarrazin was the fastest driver round the Spanish track this afternoon, beating team-mate Marc Gene by almost six tenths of a second. The Peugeot pair's closest rival was McNish (Audi) who was 1.375s off the pole time.
Local star Marc Gene went out soon after the start of the session but had to bide his time for two full laps because of traffic and a series of yellow flag incidents before at last being able to attempt his first flying lap. His time of 1m 32.454s immediately handed him provisional pole. Just after the session's midpoint, qualifying practice was interrupted when the red flag came out for a few minutes and the other Peugeot, with Stephane Sarrazin at the wheel, was first in the queue waiting for the green light to be sure of having a clear lap. The Frenchman had been pleased with his car after the morning's free practice run and went on to post two best sector times from three on his first flying lap to clock a 1m 31.875s.
Stephane Sarrazin: "I'm obviously very pleased. My car was nicely balanced and very easy to drive. We have been quicker than the Audis all weekend and we succeeded in beating them again in qualifying. It's important to have a car here that is as balanced through the fast corners as it is through the tighter turns and the new chicane. I now hope we will have a reliable run in the race, but I feel confident because the team has done a great job since the start of the year."
Marc Gene: "The fact that I had to cover two laps before my first flying lap meant I didn't get to profit from the best of my tyres. That's of no importance, though, because the two Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs will both start tomorrow's race from the front row, and that's the main thing."
Michel Barge, Peugeot Sport Director: "Our race at Sebring was a first class way for the team to prepare for the new season. We were always on the pace during free practice and, despite facing considerably stiffer competition compared with last year, 2008's first qualifying session enabled us to keep up our excellent habit of qualifying both cars on the front row."
The 1,000km de Catalunya starts at 11.35am local time on Sunday, April 6, 2008