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Peugeot Faces Spa Driver Conundrum Due to FE Clash

Two-driver lineups possible for Peugeot at Spa; no decision on potential Jakobsen debut…

Photo: Julien Delfosse/DPPI

Peugeot has yet to decide how it will arrange its FIA World Endurance Championship driver lineup for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May with Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne set to miss the race due to a clash with Formula E.

Both Vandoorne and Vergne will skip the Spa round on May 11 as both are scheduled to participate in the Berlin FE round, which falls on the same weekend, for the DS Penske squad that is part of the same Stellantis family as Peugeot.

That would leave the French marque with only four of its six regular drivers for the Belgian race to pilot its pair of 9X8s, albeit with the option of handing a race debut to reserve driver Malthe Jakobsen.

Stellantis Motorsport director Jean-Marc Finot told reporters in Qatar last weekend that running two drivers per car is “feasible” and that no decision has been made yet regarding whether Jakobsen will indeed make his debut.

“This is not decided,” he said in reference to Jakobsen. “We have time to decide.

“For us, it’s very easy to make the decision [for Vandoorne and Vergne to miss Spa] as without a driver in the DS car, the car cannot run.”

Finot confirmed that unlike Vandoorne and Vergne, ABT FE driver Nico Mueller is required to miss the Berlin races to be present in Spa with Peugeot.

“[Mueller] will race with us,” he said. “It’s in the contract.”

Asked whether therefore Peugeot could end up with three drivers in one car and two and the other, Finot replied: “Yes, it could be.”

He added that no drivers currently outside of the Peugeot family are currently being considered to race the pair of 9X8s at Spa.

How Toyota, BMW and Lamborghini Are Impacted By Clash

Peugeot is not the only WEC Hypercar manufacturer impacted by the clash between WEC and FE, with Toyota, BMW and Lamborghini all running drivers from the all-electric series, as well as Porsche customer squad Hertz Team JOTA.

Toyota has two FE drivers, Sebastien Buemi and Nyck de Vries, on its roster for 2024, but team director Rob Leupen confirmed to Sportscar365 that both are obliged to be present at Spa and will therefore sit out the Berlin race.

Buemi’s Envision Racing team faces the prospect of having both of its drivers missing for Berlin, as Robin Frijns looks set to prioritize his BMW drive for Spa.

However, de Vries’ Mahindra FE teammate Edoardo Mortara will instead race in Berlin, leaving Lamborghini with a seat to fill for Spa.

Iron Lynx boss Andrea Piccini confirmed to Sportscar365 that Mortara will be replaced by another driver from within the Lamborghini LMDh roster, which in practice means either Andrea Caldarelli or Matteo Cairoli as Romain Grosjean will be in action at Indianapolis in IndyCar on the same weekend.

As for JOTA, Norman Nato is set to skip Spa to be present for Andretti in Berlin, which would most likely leave Will Stevens and Callum Ilott racing as a duo.

John Dagys contributed to this report

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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