FIA WEC – Qatar 1812km: a cruel end for Team Peugeot TotalEnergies

Thanks to a strong team performance, the no.93 PEUGEOT 9X8 was running in second place on the penultimate lap. Sadly, it ended the following lap – and the race – in seventh place, whilst the no.94 PEUGEOT 9X8 finished seventeenth.
Starting sixth on the grid, Nico Müller led the race for 37 laps in what was an undeniably competitive Peugeot 9X8 this weekend.
The Qatar 1812km was the final race for the 2023 PEUGEOT 9X8, with the 2024 version due to make its début at the 6 Hours of Imola.

Fate dealt Team Peugeot TotalEnergies a cruel blow in the closing stages of today’s race at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit. The no.93 PEUGEOT 9X8 driven by Jensen/Müller/Vergne had spent 334 of the 335 laps in the top three only to run out of fuel at the start of the second last lap, ending the race in seventh place. Meanwhile, the no.94 car driven by Di Resta/Duval/Vandoorne took the chequered flag in seventeenth position.

The PEUGEOT 9X8s enjoyed a radically different start to the race. After lining up sixth on the starting grid, Nico Müller (no.93 PEUGEOT 9X8) had moved up to third place by the end of the opening lap, whilst his team-mate Paul di Resta (no.94 PEUGEOT 9X8) was sent into a spin at the first turn by another competitor.

After two masterful overtaking moves, Nico Müller took the lead of the Qatar 1812km on lap sixteen. An incredibly intense battle ensued between the no.93 PEUGEOT 9X8 and the no.6 Porsche. For almost half an hour, there was rarely more than a second between the two Hypercars.

Pursing a double stint strategy, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Eric Vergne and Nico Müller took turns behind the wheel to keep the no.93 PEUGEOT 9X8 in second place until the second last lap, when suddenly “JEV” slowed down on the track. The no.93 kept going under electric power to cross the finishing line in a disappointing seventh place, just when Team Peugeot TotalEnergies was on the verge of recording its best performance in the FIA World Endurance Championship after a very solid performance throughout the weekend. The no.93 PEUGEOT 9X8 nonetheless leaves Qatar with nine points in the world championship standings (provisional standings).

In the no.94 PEUGEOT 9X8, Paul di Resta completed an 82 lap stint to try and get back into the top ten. “I picked up a slow puncture after clashing with another car at the start. It’s disappointing because we had very good pace.” Unfortunately, halfway through the race, the no.93 car had to stop in the pits for 30 minutes in order to change the battery. This did not prevent it from finishing the race in seventeenth place, gathering some very useful data for the future in the process.

After completing a competitive distance of 30,970km and some incredible work by the entire team, the 2023 version of the PEUGEOT 9X8 will now hand over to the 2024 version, starting at the 6 Hours of Imola (21 April), highly determined to build on the clear potential of the car.