Controversy erupts at LeMans between arch rivals UPDATE #2 As predicted........Following the protest lodged by Team Peugeot Total, the Sporting Stewards of the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours have decided “not to uphold the protest”. The team was notified of this decision at 23.33 on Wednesday, June 10.
After reading the notification (“…the ACO has the discretionary power to deem whether or not the sole function of an element of bodywork is to generate downforce… …it is based on this discretionary power of appreciation, compounded by the exclusive power it has to interpret the technical regulations as laid out in Article 18, that the ACO homologates the cars which take part in the events covered by its regulations”), Team Peugeot Total, in compliance with the regulations, has decided to appeal the decision of the Sporting Stewards within the permitted timeframe of one hour following the publication of the said decision. Le Mans, June 11, 2009.
06/10/09 Audi has responded to Peugeot's protest.
|Detail view of front wing design of Audi|
"Basically it's an issue between Peugeot and the ACO, as our car was homologated the way it is (today)," said Thomas Voigt, press officer for Audi. "The car was homologated before Sebring, and again about two weeks ago."
"On Monday in scrutineering, the car was verified, and declared to be exactly as homologated before Sebring," Voigt confirmed.
"That's really all we can say," Voigt summed things up. "With the regulations, we can only homologate the car, and that tells us it's within the regulations."
Now the ball is clearly in the ACO's court; and we expect they will deny the Peugeot protest or face a major black eye. 06/10/09 At 10.35am today, Wednesday June 10, 2009, and in compliance with Article 29.2 of the specific regulations of the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours, Team Peugeot Total lodged a protest with the Race Director and the President of the Sporting Stewards of the Le Mans 24 Hours concerning the entrant Audi and the non-compliance of the three Audi prototypes with the ACO's 2009 technical regulations.
It would indeed seem that two features of the Audi R15 – in the configuration in which it was shown at technical scrutineering for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours on June 8 – do not comply with Article 3.6.2 of the current technical regulations: - The flap which links the two front wings.
- The appendages fixed to the inner surface of the front wings.
These appendages and this flap effectively form part of the bodywork and their sole purpose is to generate downforce. These bodywork parts are considered to be aerodynamic elements. Since they do not appear on the list of aerodynamic elements authorized by Article 3.6.2, they are consequently not permitted.
Certain aspects of the car's non-compliance were pointed out to the ACO last March at the 12 Hours of Sebring, a round of the ALMS. "Our protest dossier was already ready at the time, but the Automobile Club de l’Ouest made assurances that it would take the necessary steps ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours," explains Olivier Quesnel. "I insist on the fact that our approach is constructive and not aggressive. It seeks to clarify what is an unclear situation with a view to obtaining clear, precise regulations in order to prepare for the future. All competitors need stable, firm regulations that apply to everyone, with a strong regulatory body capable of taking decisions. We intend to take this matter to its conclusion, not with the intention of weakening endurance racing but of making it stronger. Should our protest not be upheld by the sporting stewards, we will lodge an appeal with motor sport's supreme governing body, the FIA”.
"Now that this procedure is underway," concludes Olivier Quesnel, "all our energy is now focused entirely on our priority objective for 2009, which is to try to win the Le Mans 24 Hours. May the racing begin."