Pista – 24 Hours of Le Mans: Team Peugeot TotalEnergies focused on the race after a lack of pace in qualifying

After last Sunday’s Test Day and completing various media duties at the start of the week, Team Peugeot TotalEnergies was back on track on Wednesday for two free practice sessions and one qualifying session, after which the eight fastest Hypercar prototypes (out of the 23 entrants) would go through to the Hyperpole session scheduled for tomorrow evening.

Jean-Eric Vergne (no. 93) and Stoffel Vandoorne (no. 94) were chosen to drive the PEUGEOT 9X8 in today’s qualifying session. On Medium tyres, JEV set a time of 3min26.545s and Stoffel 3min26.195s at the start of the session. They were unable to improve with soft tyres.

The two Team Peugeot TotalEnergies drivers then put on a fresh set of tyres to try and improve their times in the closing stages of the session. Unfortunately, a red flag was shown two minutes from the end, dashing their hopes of making a final attempt. The PEUGEOT 9X8 hypercars therefore finished in 16th and 21st places.

Jean-Marc Finot, Stellantis Motorsport Senior VP
“The Hypercar field is very tightly bunched: there is only a second separating the 1st and 12th fastest cars! Obviously, we would have preferred to be in the top eight so we could take part in tomorrow’s Hyperpole, but it seemed difficult to reach, especially as our last few runs were disrupted by traffic and then a red flag. We nonetheless managed to make some progress with the car today. We’ll now turn our attention to the race. We believe that reliability and an ability to manage unforeseen events will be the decisive factors, more so than pure pace.”

Jean-Eric Vergne, (no. 93 PEUGEOT 9X8)
“The result is disappointing, but we just weren’t quick enough in today’s session. And yet the car was good to drive, and I had the impression that I had put in a good lap. But it’s a very long race and rain is forecast, so position on the starting grid will have very little impact on the outcome on Sunday.”

Stoffel Vandoorne (no. 94 PEUGEOT 9X8)
“It was very tough today. We lacked the pace to have a shot of making it through to the Hyperpole. We set our fastest times at the start of the session and didn’t have the opportunity to improve afterwards. We were then unable to make the most of our fresh tyres at the end of the session due to the traffic and the red flag.”