The Peugeot 908 with the Audi R10 in the background

The battle of the diesels is only a couple of weeks away now at the 24 hours of Le Mans and the Peugeot 908 and Audi R10 met on the track for the first time last weekend during the pre-race test day. Until now the Audis have been running the American Le Mans Series and the Peugeot have done their training in the Le Mans Endurance Series in Europe.

This opening round ended up with Peugeot on top, about 1.5 seconds faster than the second-place Audi. The other Audi came in third, followed by the Pascarolo and the second Peugeot with the fifth fastest time. The big question mark now is can the French cars run the distance at Le Mans. We already know what the Audis can do, but the 908 is still a question mark in that regard.

[Source: Peugeot]

4 June 2007

THE PEUGEOT 908 HDi FAP – A REWARDING DAY'S WORK

Le Mans 24 Hours Preliminary Test Day – 3 June 2007

Peugeot Sport left Le Mans yesterday very pleased after completing the planned test programme for its maiden visit and setting the fastest lap.

The 908 HDi FAP driven by Sébastien Bourdais posted the fastest recorded time of 3m 26.707s, over 1.5 seconds faster than the second placed Audi R10.

Sébastien Bourdais left his fast lap until late on Sunday after posting a series of very quick laps on race tyres after fine-tuning the set-up of his 908 HDi FAP: "We had a comprehensive programme to go through and we succeeded in ticking almost all the items on our list. The car is fantastic to drive, it is nicely balanced and if we succeed in putting in the same sort of performance in a fortnight's time, then we could possibly end up springing a surprise. We did not run on qualifying tyres and I wasn't far off the car's maximum potential. I've got a busy Champ Car schedule over the coming days including a race at Portland next weekend, and then it'll be back to Le Mans for the real thing ...."

Jacques Villeneuve also emerged as the fastest rookie after carefully increasing his pace. "I started with a couple of laps aimed primarily at learning the track which has got quite a few interesting corners. I then went back out later in the day to do a series of long runs to see how the tyres performed, but my biggest concern was the amount of traffic about. That's something new to me, especially since certain cars were taking some pretty bizarre lines! Sharing a car with other drivers isn't a problem and we weren't looking for the absolute fastest time here so I didn't get involved in any set up work. My team mates are far more accustomed to the car than I am!"

It was also Peugeot Sport's other Le Man's rookie Marc Gene's first visit to the circuit. "It's been a very rewarding experience driving here today. The first thing that strikes you is how long the circuit is; it takes so long to cover just one lap! My initial objective was to learn the circuit and find my marks as I completed my 10 mandatory laps. I followed the advice not only of my team mates but also that of my brother Jordi who knows Le Mans well. I was impressed by certain turns, including Indianapolis, and the speeds involved are very reminiscent of Monza."

Fastest lap times:

1

Bourdais/Lamy/Sarrazin (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP)

3m 26.707s

2

Pirro (Audi R10)

3m 28.277s

3

McNish (Audi R10)

3m 28.406s

4

Boullion (Pescarolo Judd)

3m 28.574s

5

Villeneuve/Gene/Minassian (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP)

3m 30.314s

Peugeot Sport managed to work through the complete programme planned for the 908's maiden visit to the French venue without suffering the slightest mechanical problem. The No 8 car covered a total of 60 laps, while the No 7 sister car completed 79 laps. Le Man's rookies Jacques Villeneuve and Marc Gene both completed the mandatory minimum of 10 laps demanded by the organisers for all first-time visitors to the circuit.


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