Pole for Peugeot 908 for the 4th time in a row
For the fourth time in as many years a Peugeot 908 HDi FAP has taken pole position for tomorrow’s 78th Le Mans 24 Hours, with the team’s three cars occupying the first three places just ahead of Team Oreca’s Peugeot in fourth. Changeable weather on the second day of qualifying prevented a new battle for the top spot but allowed Team Peugeot Total to concentrate on perfecting its set up in preparation for the start of the race on Saturday at 15h00.
Starting on wet tyres, the three 908 HDi FAPs of Team Peugeot Total ventured out on a damp but drying track with the firm intention of taking advantage of every minute available to them. Following a clearly defined programme, the focus was on testing different tyre compounds and aerodynamic set ups. As the session advanced the times dropped, though without threatening to surpass yesterday’s performance; Alexander Wurz (Car No 1) posted the fastest lap of 3’23”238, ahead of Simon Pagenaud (Car No 3) and Stéphane Sarrazin (Car No 2).
With conditions improving during the ultimate qualifying session the times started to fall fast over the last 15 minutes. Comfortably installed in the first three places, the experienced Team Peugeot Total concentrated on validating the fruit of their labours. Sébastien Bourdais nevertheless posted the fastest lap of the day of 3’20”212, to the delight of his many supporters who turned out to cheer on their local hero. Aboard his Peugeot 908 HDi FAP No 3, Sébastien achieved his first pole position thanks to yesterday’s quickest lap of 3’19”711.
The Peugeot 908s have monopolised the first two rows of the grid for tomorrow’s race, with the three factory cars, No 3, the No 1 and then the No 2 ahead of the Peugeot of Team Oreca.
Pedro Lamy, Marc Gené and Franck Montagny are the nominated drivers who will start Saturday’s race.
Olivier Quesnel (Peugeot Sport Team Director). “We worked hard and we couldn’t have done better, but we haven’t won anything yet. We are ready but that doesn’t mean we are going to have an easy weekend. Taking the pole is one thing, taking the victory is quite another.”
908 HDi FAP No 3: Sébastien Bourdais (FRA) – Pedro Lamy (POR) – Simon Pagenaud (FRA)
Sébastien Bourdais : “This pole proves that we are strong, now we have to turn that strength intovictory. We worked well today and the goal of the last 15 minutes was to confirm the car’s balance, not to chase after another pole. Now I want the race to start, time is going to drag until Saturday. We have the equipment, the speed and the people to win, but we need to stay humble and hope for a little luck.”
908 HDi FAP No 1: Anthony Davidson (GBR) – Marc Gené (ESP) – Alexander Wurz (AUT)
Anthony Davidson: “Until that last run I didn’t feel all that prepared and it took me a while to get up to speed. But then I got comfortable and my lap times started to come down. Now I can’t wait for race day to come.”
908 HDi FAP No 2: Nicolas Minassian (FRA) – Franck Montagny (FRA) – Stéphane Sarrazin (FRA) Nicolas Minassian : We have gone well over these last two days. Yesterday Franck worked on the tyres and then Stéphane went after a time. He could have got the pole, but was unlucky with the traffic. The weather was changeable which was both challenging and useful. Now our mechanics are going to have a lot of work, while we rest and prepare for the race.”
1 – PEUGEOT 908 HDi FAP n°3 (Bourdais) : 3’19’’711
2 – PEUGEOT 908 HDi FAP n°1 (Wurz) : 3’20’’317
3 – PEUGEOT 908 HDi FAP n°2 (Sarrazin) : 3’20’’325
4 – PEUGEOT 908 HDi FAP n°4 (Lapierre) : 3’21’’192
5 – AUDI R15 TDI n°9 (Rockenfeller) : 3’21’’981
6 – AUDI R15 TDI n°7 (McNish) : 3’22’’176