Oliver Jansson, Project 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar Technical Director, and driver James Rossiter are both confident Peugeot has the speed to compete with the third-placed Alpine A480 via the Fuji 6 Hours.
Rossiter, who took third place over the Alps in the second stage of the race, told Motorsport.com: “I’m confident we could have had a good fight without a problem.
“I’m sure we could have managed the podium, or at least we had a fight to the end.
Andre Negrau [in the Alpine] It came back to me a little bit in the middle of my second stint, but I knew I had enough in the tires to push more.”
Jansoni added: “I think we could have had a nice fight. The pace before this problem was very good.
“The race speed was really good, [but] We still miss a little.”
Rossiter moved the #94 Peugeot 9X8 he shared with Loic Duval and Gustavo Menezes to third, ahead of the Alps during the first round of the gas pit stop and initially managed to put a tight lead on the Nigrao.
Peugeot fell to fourth behind the Negrao shared car with Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere during the second pit stop after Rossiter was pushed off the track by a GTE Am in its lap and lost nearly three seconds.
Lapierre was faster than Duval in a new Michelin and was 15 seconds ahead when the Peugeot 9X8 driver brought the Peugeot 9X8 into the pits with oil smoke lingering from the back of the car two and a half hours later.
The cause of the leak was a problem with a plug in the oil system which Jansonnie described as “nothing dramatic but the consequences were very significant”.
Problem #94 costs 20 minutes to dig, which means it couldn’t finish better than 20 and 15 laps of lags from Toyota GR010 Hybrids that finished 1-2.
The #93 Peugeot shared by Jean-Eric Vergne, Mikkel Jensen and Paul de Resta lost just seven and a half minutes when it had the same problem at 4 o’clock and managed to recover to fourth, albeit seven laps behind Toyota. .
#93 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Paul di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Eric Vergne
Photo: JEP / motorsports pictures
“Unfortunately it was the same problem,” Jansononi said. “We were kind of expecting it in the second car, so when it happened we were able to react [quicker]. “
Jansonnie confirmed that the problem never occurred during testing or over the course of the car’s debut at the Monza WEC Tour in July.
The in-house Peugeot Sport team believes it made significant progress in the two months between Monza and Fuji, which included two multi-day tests.
“We solved all the reliability issues we had in our first race, and two days of training at Fuji, along with the first two hours of the race itself, went without incident,” Jansononi said.
If we continue to progress at this rate before Bahrain [the 2022 WEC finale in November]It will be very positive.”
How fast is Peugeot?
The Peugeot 9X8s were not far from Fuji’s footsteps for the second-placed Toyota driven by Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway.
Using a 100-lap average, the #93 car was just 0.049 seconds slower than the #7 Toyota and 0.006 seconds before the Alps.
Another Peugeot #94 ran 0.150 seconds back over the full six hours of racing, which lasted uninterrupted from the yellow flag warning periods.
The #93 car, however, was not in a position to challenge on the podium, even though it did finish as the two fastest 9X8 in the averages.
Vergne struggled with his tires during the opening two stints, bled time and ended up in the 40s behind the Alps when he handed over to Jensen.
Jansonnie will only confirm that Vergne’s issues were with the tires but did not provide further details.