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Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Peugeot 'disappointed' by Le Mans speed after missing Hyperpole

Peugeot has admitted to disappointment with the rate of progress in the development of its 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar after failing to make it through to Hyperpole qualifying. 

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8 of Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Nico Muller

Jean-Marc Finot, the French manufacturer’s motorsport boss, said that the in-house Peugeot Sport team was “improving but not by enough” after Mikkel Jensen and Loic Duval ended up outside the top eight cars that have gone through to final qualifying. 

Peugeot will be the only one of the five major car makers participating in the World Endurance Championship's Hypercar class not to be present in the Hyperpole session on Thursday evening for this weekend’s double-points round. 

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“We have been progressing race by race, but we are still not at the pace we were expecting,” said Finot. “We have to do better to catch up to the front-runners.

Jensen ended up tenth in Wednesday evening's qualifying session with a 3m27.546s, which was 2.3s off the pace of Antonio Fuoco’s Ferrari 499P at the top of the timesheets. 

Duval was three tenths behind his team-mate on 3m27.850s in 11th position in the one-hour session. 

Finot insisted that represented an improvement on Peugeot’s performance last time out in the WEC at Spa at the end of April.

“At Spa, we were two seconds off out of two minutes and here we are two seconds over three and a half minutes, so we are improving,” he said. 

 

Finot also pointed out that its competitors all made bigger gains than Peugeot between opening free practice and first qualifying, saying: “Our competitors did a better job."

Jensen expressed happiness with his lap to make the top 10 because it was set on tyres that were past their best. 

“I felt I got the most out of the car, but we didn’t put the lap together, get the chance to show our pace,” he explained.

“On my best lap, I was impeded by a GT car at the Ford Chicane and a red flag came on my second best lap when I was one second from the finish line.

“The first one would have been a high 3m26s, but whether we could have got into Hyperpole, I am not sure.”

Peugeot’s failure to make the qualifying cut followed signs of major progress during last Sunday’s Le Mans Test day and then the opening session of free practice for the race on Wednesday afternoon. 

It was six tenths off the pace in the morning session of the Test Day and again in first practice.

Peugeot has been a major beneficiary of last week’s Balance of Performance change in Hypercar - it was the only one of the five major players in class not to be hit with an increase in minimum weight.

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