POLEPOSITION,FOLLOWED BYANEARLYBATH Le Mans week got off to a perfect start for Simon Pagenaud when team-mate Sebastien Bourdais posted the first qualifying session's fastest time in the No.3 factory Peugeot 908 HDi FAP on Wednesday evening.
Le Mans week got off to a perfect start for Simon Pagenaud when team-mate Sebastien Bourdais posted the first qualifying session's fastest time in the No.3 factory Peugeot 908 HDi FAP on Wednesday evening. Nobody was able to better the Frenchman's effort in either of the following day's sessions, so his performance was enough to put the car on pole position. Still to come, however, was the world's toughest 24-hour motor race for cars and drivers alike, against some razor-sharp, perfectly-prepared opposition. Simon's other team-mate Pedro Lamy got the No.3 car off to a great start and completed his first stint in the lead. But just as Sebastien Bourdais was about to take his first turn at the wheel of the No.3 Peugeot, the car was seen limping round the track at slow speed, with smoke bellowing from its front-right corner. On its return to the pits, the team announced that the point where the frontright suspension was fixed to the tub had failed.
The problem couldn't be repaired,and the hopes of the No.3 Peugeot crew were shattered. Simon Pagenaud didn't even get a chance to drive the 908 in the race! For the third year running, his car didn't make it to the finish. Although such setbacks are part and parcel of motor racing, the experience has merely served to heighten Simon's determination to contest the French classic in a car as competitive as the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP in 12 months' time, with the firm intention of being first past the flag. Meanwhile, the Poitiers-born driver will be at Val de Vienne on June 26-27 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the French circuit where he cut his teeth in the sport on his way up the professional ladder. He will then cross the Atlantic to compete in the fourth round of the ALMS in Salt Lake City on July 11. His objective there will be to notch up his third straight win in the American series and extend his lead in the provisional Drivers' standings.
"LeMans is an extraordinary occasion, but it is also the toughest race in the world. I haven't had much luck thereinthepast threeyears,but Itakeagreatdealaway with me that is very positive from last weekend. The bond with my team-mates Pedro Lamy and Sebastien Bourdais was perfect, and we managed to make the most of the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP's potential thanks to some great teamwork with everyone at Peugeot Sport. The team began its intensive preparations for the 2010 race in the immediate wake of its win in 2009, and I honestly don't see how our build-up as a team could have been any better.Sebastien's poleposition with our car was a welcome consolation for our crew. Racing can sometimes be very cruel, but what happened has only made us hungrier for victory next time. I would like to thank you all for the valuable support I received from you ahead of this year's race. I have every intention of returning next year with the necessary means to the fight for thew in."