Peugeot vetoes Audi for Sebring

Audi's participation in the 2010 Sebring 12 Hours with an interim version of its R15 prototype has been vetoed by arch rival Peugeot.

The German manufacturer proposed taking this year's R15s fitted with 2010-spec engines to the American Le Mans Series opener in March. The move, which needed unanimous agreement of rival teams, was rejected by Peugeot.

Audi Sport boss Wolfgang Ullrich explained that late confirmation of next year's Le Mans regulations made it impossible to build a revised R15 fully conforming to the 2010 regulations in time for Sebring on March 20.

"We would have liked to do Sebring," he said. "That is why I had discussion with IMSA and then the Automobile Club de l'Ouest. The ACO said that if our competitors agreed for us to run a mixed car, then they would find solution. One of our competitors did not agree, and therefore we had to give up [on the idea]."

Audi was seeking to be allowed to run the car with the front-end aerodynamics that caused so much controversy in 2009. New rules for next year have limited the profile and position of a flap inside the nose that works in conjunction with the splitter to create, according to its critics, an illegal front wing. Peugeot Sport boss Olivier Quesnel confirmed that he had objected to Audi's return to Sebring for a 12th successive assault.

"We have regulations and everyone should conform to them," he said. "Can you imagine if I asked Audi if we could have run at Le Mans this year without air-conditioning [which is mandatory for coupes]?"

Audi will still be taking one R15 to Sebring in March. It plans to undertake an endurance simulation at the Florida venue immediately after the race. Ullrich explained that the track would present ideal conditions for a 30-hour test in the week after the race.

"There will be grid on the track, some debris around and lots of tire pick-up," he said. Peugeot has confirmed that it will still race at Sebring in spite of Audi's absence. AutoWeek

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