After three encouraging free practices, where the PEUGEOT 9X8 stayed in the leading pack, with a 4th place for the #94 9X8 during the FP3, all eyes were on the qualifying session this afternoon.
It’s under the sky of the sunny Autodromo Internacional Do Algarve that the two Team Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 took the track for a 15-minute qualifying session for the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship Season 11.
Paul Di Resta, at the wheel of the #93 Hybrid Hypercar and Nico Müller with the #94 started the qualifying with cold tyres, as per the new FIA WEC regulation. After two laps to warm up the tyres, the PEUGEOT 9X8 showed good improvement in terms of performance and were in the middle of the 11-hypercar grid. After 15 minutes on track, Nico Müller set the best time of the two PEUGEOT 9X8 with a lap in 1:32.517 and finished the session in 6th position. Paul Di Resta, on track with the #93 9X8, did a lap in 1:32.703 and will start tomorrow in 10th position on the grid.
Tune in tomorrow at 12h (local time) to watch the two PEUGEOT 9X8 #93 and #94 fighting on track for the 6 Hours of Portimão and follow the race live on the official channels of the FIA WEC.
Jean-Marc Finot – Stellantis Senior VP:
“During the free practices we saw a regular improvement in terms of timing. For this qualifying session, we did the same lap times that we did during the free practices so there is no surprise for us. We can see that some manufacturer managed to make a big gap between the qualifying and the free practices, so we still have improvements to make to optimise our qualifications. Beyond the fact that we did a major step of performance since Sebring, the main thing for tomorrow is to ensure the reliability of the car and the team. But we are confident with the job done by all the team.”
Paul Di Resta – PEUGEOT #93
“My qualifying session was pretty smooth; if I think ahead to tomorrow, I think we are a bit safer in terms of strategy to play the long game in the race. We’ve got the car in the best window it has been in all weekend. Of course, for now, it is not close enough to the competitors but, this can’t be done in two or three weeks but after a lot of analyses and development.
Ultimately, we need to do the best we can, hope that we have a good car during the race and that the conditions will stay the same as today. And it seems that the hotter the track is, the better it is for us. I think we can be satisfied even if there is still a lot of work to do.”
Nico Müller – PEUGEOT #94:
“The qualifying was alright in terms of what we got out of the package. I think it was a decent and clean session. Obviously, we would have wished for the gap with the leaders to be bit smaller, but we are P6 in the end so it’s clearly a step forward compared to Sebring. The hard work is slowly paying off and it’s good to have some positive signs.
I’m pleased for the team because they really gave it all the last few weeks so we can see that we are heading into the right direction. Tomorrow is going to be long and exciting but I’m confident. Because of the traffic, this track is challenging to find a clean and fast way through slower cars but hopefully we can have a strong race.”