(PRWEB UK) 7 May 2011
Team Peugeot Total took full advantage of the Le Mans 24 Hours test day to continue its preparations for the world’s most famous endurance race.
The team’s race engineers and all ten drivers: Sébastien Bourdais, Anthony Davidson, Marc Gené, Pedro Lamy, Nicolas Minassian, Franck Montagny, Simon Pagenaud, Stéphane Sarrazin, Alexander Wurz and new recruit Jean-Karl Vernay completed a comprehensive test programme.
The date of Sunday 24 April 2011 will go down in history as the day the brand new Peugeot 908 completed its first ever laps of the 8.47 miles Le Mans racetrack. The split of the ten drivers in the three cars was changed a little in line with the work to be carried out on each Peugeot 908. Nicolas Minassian, for example, started the session in the No.7 car, Stéphane Sarrazin was on board the No 8 car and Alexander Wurz ventured out in car No.9.
With 59 laps completed in the morning session, and 58 in the afternoon, the No.7 Peugeot 908 was the car that covered the most kilometres, in any of the categories. “Our goal was to work on endurance, building on the work done at Aragon with this car at the start of the week”, explained Nicolas Minassian. “We successfully completed our programme. We have now spent a lot of time on the track and everything has gone as planned, which is perfect for recording the data we need for the race. Without particularly adjusting the set-up, we had a very efficient car, which bodes well.”
The two other teams worked on different set-ups. On board the No 8 car, Anthony Davidson clocked the best performance of the morning session for Peugeot, with a time of 3’30’’516. “It's good to be back at Le Mans!” admitted Anthony Davidson. “The car is very good to drive, we made a few minor adjustments to the set-up but overall, we are all very happy with the balance of the Peugeot 908 on this track. It was very positive.”
The other objective of the day was to allow Jean-Karl Vernay, Team Peugeot Total’s new reserve driver, to complete the mandatory qualification laps. The 23 year-old driver got behind the wheel of the Peugeot No. 7 in the middle of the afternoon to complete the ten laps required. “I actually completed eleven laps. I went steadily, taking care on all my overtaking moves. It isn’t really difficult to learn the track; it’s the varying speed of the cars that is more complicated to get to grips with. I would have loved to have stayed out for longer!”
At the end of the afternoon, Stéphane Sarrazin and Sébastien Bourdais stepped up the pace. The man from Le Mans recorded a lap time of 3’28’’304 and then, in the closing stages of the session, Stéphane Sarrazin moved the Peugeot No.8 up to third overall on the day’s timesheet, with a 3’27’’876. Like the rest of the team, Stéphane Sarrazin was pleased with the day’s achievements: “We followed our development programme to the letter. This is a new car, so we made changes to the set-up throughout the day. We managed a good result with an efficient car that is also very enjoyable to drive.”
"We pretty much completed our full test programme”, commented Bruno Famin Peugeot Sport’s Technical Director. “The No 7 car completed the endurance programme which we started at Aragon. We have significantly exceeded the race distance for the 24 Hours of Le Mans with this car. We have worked on the set-up for the two other cars, in spite of an engine issue on the No. 9. Until we know more, we preferred to change it. Overall, it was a highly productive day of work, the three cars are intact and the drivers stuck perfectly to the planned programme.”
After this full-scale test session, Team Peugeot Total will be moving on to Spa-Francorchamps in a few days, where the three Peugeot 908s and the nine factory drivers will be all taking part in a race for the first time this season. "We showed both endurance and performance today”, concluded Olivier Quesnel Peugeot Sport Director. "We have all the data required to make sure we come back to Le Mans with optimised race cars. Spa-Francorchamps will give us another opportunity to prepare for Le Mans. We have seen today that this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans really is going to be very hotly contested.”
Next race: 6-7 May – 1,000 kilometres of Spa-Francorchamps (Round Two of the ILMC).
Test day overall standings:
1: Audi R18 TD1 No.3, 3’27’’687, 62 laps
2: Audi R18 TDI No.1, 3’27’’815, 48 laps
3: Peugeot 908 No.8, 3’27”876, 80 laps
4: Audi R18 TD1 No.2, 3’27’’878, 70 laps
5: Peugeot 908 No.9, 3’28”304, 43 laps
6: Peugeot 908 HDi FAP - Oreca No.10, 3’31’’141, 78 laps
7: Peugeot 908 No.7, 3’32”549, 117 laps
8: Pescarolo Judd No.16, 3’36’’583, 65 laps
9: Pescarolo Judd No.12, 3’37’’809, 60 laps
10: Pescarolo Judd No.13, 3’38’’716, 26 laps
To obtain high resolution downloadable images of the Peugeot 908 please log onto the Peugeot Press website: http://www.peugeotpress.co.uk (Newspress passwords apply)
Ian Sedgwick \ +44 (0)24 7688 4216
Kevin Jones \ +44 (024) 7688 4215