Peugeot, Bourdais Turn Fastest Lap in Le Mans Test Development and reliability work continued on the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP's program during the pre-season Le Mans Series test session at Paul Ricard HTTT where the new car was making its maiden official outing. The two-day workout in the south of France ended with the car at the top of the timesheets despite some technical problems.
Since the 908 HDi FAP's unveiling at Mortefontaine, near Paris, on January 10th, Team Peugeot Total has worked without letup: in parallel to the new car's test program which began at the start of the year, three chassis have now been completed and the car's workout at Paul Ricard was its sixth and final run before the 2007 Le Mans Series kicks off at Monza on April 14-15.
The single car present at Paul Ricard covered a total of 174 laps over the two days, equivalent to a little more than 1,000km, including the fastest lap of the test with a 1m 43.705s in the hands of three-time Champ Car Champion Sébastien Bourdais.
"It was a positive couple of days for us," says Peugeot Sport Director Michel Barge. "Sébastien's schedule means he hasn't been able to drive since early February and the session enabled us to give him some more time in the car. The same goes for Pedro Lamy who had been sidelined since hurting his Achilles tendon in February. On top of that, we come away with the fastest time which is encouraging."
After a few laps with Stéphane Sarrazin at the wheel on the Sunday morning, Pedro Lamy and Sébastien Bourdais took turns over the two-day session to work on the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP's suspension set-up.
"We covered a fair amount of the planned program, essentially during the second day," reports Bruno Famin, Technical Director. "An engine problem detected late Sunday afternoon deprived us of a chance to do some endurance and night-time running. However, we were back on the pace on Monday morning which enabled us to cover a further 91 laps without any major trouble, with the exception of a minor electrical problem. Even so, a great deal of work still needs to be done on the reliability front."
Sébastien Bourdais: "Despite a few reliability-related problems, the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP has evolved since the last time I drove it. The team has worked hard and I feel comfortable with the car. There is still a long way to go though if we want to finish an event like the Le Mans 24 Hours."
Pedro Lamy: "I regret not having been available to work on the car's development but it's nice to see that I was able to drive this weekend without feeling any awkwardness whatsoever. That wasn't necessarily a foregone conclusion following the surgery I underwent to my right foot but I will be fit to compete in the opening race at Monza."