The two PEUGEOT 9X8 crossed the finish line of the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
The Peugeot Sport drivers had an exemplary race despite the difficult conditions
Next stop for the Team Peugeot TotalEnergies: the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Last dress rehearsal before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps are a must of the FIA World Endurance Championship calendar and attracted this weekend more than 72000 fans. This record figure shows how attractive the Championship has become this season.
For its first outing on the Belgian track, the Team Peugeot TotalEnergies had a consistent race without any major mechanical issue.
It’s on a wet track that Paul Di Resta and Gustavo Menezes took the start at the wheel of the #93 and #94 9X8. The team decided to start with wet tyres and then change to slick ones on the drying track, the tyre strategy being a key element of those 6 hours of racing that were interrupted four times with a Safety Car procedure.
The six Peugeot Sport drivers, Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Eric Vergne and Loïc Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Nico Müller had an exemplary race, making no mistakes and allowing the team to confirm the improving reliability of the two Hybrid Hypercar while seeking performance. This race, on a very challenging track, was also important to optimise the learnings in order to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most important race of the 2023 season.
Jean-Eric Vergne, with the #93 PEUGEOT 9X8 crossed the chequered flag in 7th position in the Hypercar class after being hit by an LMP2 car resulting in a loss of rhythm towards the end of the race. He is followed by Nico Müller with the #94 9X8 finishing 9th in a very competitive class, after being slowed down with a false detection during a refuelling. The whole team did a very good job throughout the weekend which is positive for the future.
The next race of the Team Peugeot TotalEnergies will be on the 10th and 11th June with the Centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans that will mark the return of the brand at the famous French track.
WHAT THEY SAID
Olivier Jansonnie – Peugeot Sport Technical Director:
“Our two cars took the start, and our two cars crossed the finish live without any major mechanical issues, which is positive. The tyre choice at the start was not easy, we wanted to be safe, and we chose the wet tyres to ensure the drivers had an easier start on this is a complicated track with several dangerous sectors. We only had one problem with a mandatory refuelling sensor on the #94. The #93 got hit on the rear and had to finish the race with damaged bodywork leading to a loss of performance. In terms of reliability of the cars, we had a clean race which is good. We also saw that the setup problems that we faced here are the same than the ones we faced in the past so there are no surprises. We were not in the rhythm, nor during the free practices and the qualifying session, so we have to work on this. In order to prepare for Le Mans, we have to keep working on our reliability, as well as on the performance elements that we have identified during the race.”
Mikkel Jensen – PEUGEOT #93:
“I think my stint went ok with the difficult conditions; it was hard to manage the car. Sometimes I was drifting a little bit but with the dry line getting wider and wider it became easier even if it was still moist. The cold tyres were very hard to handle, but it was the same for everybody with a lot of traffic. We now have to focus on the next steps that will be a challenge for the whole team and the cars.”
Nico Müller – PEUGEOT #94:
“It was an exciting race with the difficult conditions at the beginning. Gustavo did a great job; we were on wet tyres, and I think it was the right call in our situation and we managed to keep the car on track. Obviously, it meant that we had to stop earlier than the others which offset the whole strategy. It was then a bit difficult to know where we were. We had an issue with a mandatory sensor during a refuelling, the car thought that it ran out of fuel at the end of the pitlane, in the end everything was fine, so it was a minor issue that had big consequences with the classification unfortunately. We also tried to maximise the learnings for the future with Le Mans in mind, we tried to see how long the tyres could last. I did three stints with one set which was long, but we made it work. I hope the data we gathered will help us for the future.”