Smiles but above all relief from Peugeot Sport. After the disastrous debut of the 9X8 at Monza in July, the French team made up for it well on Sunday, during the 6 Hours of Fuji. The French team encountered no problems on Friday and Saturday during practice and qualifying. During the race, the 9X8 n°94 ran for a long time in the exhausts of theAlpine, before staying in the garage for 20 minutes, because of an oil leak. The n°93, slower than the sister car, remained “only” 6 minutes in its box over the six hours of the race, victim of the same problem.
If the performance is not there yet, with still a much lower pace than the Toyotas, this is still a great improvement in terms of reliability for Peugeot. “These 6 Hours of Fuji testify to the enormous progress made by the team, the mechanics and the engineers since Monza. We have resolved all the reliability issues encountered during our first race. Our weekend, Friday, Saturday and the first two hours of racing in Fuji went without any problems” said Olivier Jansonnie, technical director of Peugeot Sport.
“If we follow the same margin of progress for Bahrain, it will be more than positive”
Both 9X8s finished – the #93 in 4th place, the #94 in 20th place – which is a marked improvement on Monza, where only the #93 passed the checkered flag , in 33rd position. Olivier Jansonnie displays his optimism for the continuation of the adventure in WECwith now the search for performance for the next race “ If we follow the same progression margin for Bahrain, it will be more than positiveconfided the French technical director. During the first race stints, we showed a good rhythm. From now on, we will be able to focus on progress in performance. We encountered a problem, probably similar, on both cars. We also need to look more closely at the behavior and use of the tyres. On each circuit, we discover and learn! »
Peugeot “could have fought for the podium” believes Duval
On the pilots’ side, the relief mixes with a little frustration, especially for the #94 crew. Clearly on Alpine’s pace, the podium was within reach before the oil leak ruined the trio’s hopes. “Without this problem encountered on the two cars and easily solved, we could have fought regularly for the podium, said Loic Duval. It would have been tight but playable. I’m a bit surprised by our performance in the race compared to qualifying. We are closer to the competition. We have a better understanding of the window of use for tires even if we still have to learn. »
The 9X8 n°94, much faster than the n°93, brought great reasons for satisfaction at Peugeot. At the wheel of James Rossiter, the French Hypercar came to tickle the ex-LMP1 from Alpine, helped by the courtesy of the sister car driven by Jean-Éric Vergne. “I had a really fun stint because the car was perfectly balanced. I thank Jean-Eric [Vergne] for letting me pass because I was really able to push the pace. Apart from this little off-road to avoid a GT, I must say that my driving session was very positive. I also thank the whole team because since Monza, what an evolution on the 9X8! », rejoiced the 39-year-old British driver. Next step for Peugeot: the 8 Hours of Bahrain (November 12), where the objective will be to seek performance and consolidate reliability with the 9X8.