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Peugeot “Quite Disappointed” With 9X8’s Pace at Spa

Peugeot technical boss Olivier Jansonnie reflects on difficult second outing for revised 9X8 2024…

Photo: Javier Jimenez/DPPI

Peugeot technical director Olivier Jansonnie admits the French manufacturer was “quite disappointed” with the pace of the 9X8 in last weekend’s Spa round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The revised 9X8 2024 that made its debut in the previous round at Imola was making its second race appearance at Spa, but never looked like challenging the established runners at the head of the Hypercar pack at the Belgian circuit.

Nico Mueller and Mikkel Jensen came away with a solitary point for 10th place in the No. 93 car, one lap down, while Paul di Resta and Loic Duval ended up two laps down in 14th after an early electronics problem forced di Resta to come into the pits and perform a power cycle just four laps into the race.

Jansonnie said he was satisfied that the No. 93 car was able to enjoy a largely smooth run en route to 10th place, but otherwise lamented the lack of pace shown by the 9X8s, which had qualified 13th and 15th.

“Not great,” said Jansonnie when asked to reflect on the race. “We are quite disappointed with the performance of the car generally.

“We knew from FP1 that it would be difficult, to be honest. But we were hoping that in the race we could be a bit closer [to the pace] than what we showed today. 

“There are some positives from the race, all the systems worked well, the communication, strategy as well as quite good. It’s just difficult to show anything when you are so off the pace.

“But besides the pace, the race at least for car No. 93 was quite good.”

Asked specifically where the 9X8 was losing ground to its competitors at Spa, Jansonnie replied: “We think the car is quite good in sectors one and three, we are just losing in sector two, in the slower sections.”

The Frenchman added that the 9X8 was also harder on its tires than some of the other Hypercar runners, especially in the absence of Michelin’s hard compound.

“It was a hard race on tire degradation,” said Jansonnie. “It’s quite high-energy here and the temperature was not so low, and we saw in the race we still have quite a lot to learn on that. There are clearly some competitors that are better than us in that game.”

Jansonnie however is hopeful that a disappointing race at Spa will not necessarily mean a difficult run in next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“We need to work on the performance, but Le Mans is a specific track so we can expect different things compared to here, we hope,” he said.

“We’ll know from the test day where we are. We hope we can show better pace at Le Mans than here, for sure.”

Di Resta Laments “Long and Painful” Race After Early Issue

The early problem that hit the No. 94 Peugeot means di Resta and Duval have still yet to score after three races, having been involved in first-lap contact at both Qatar and Imola.

Explaining the issue, di Resta said that losing a lap to the leaders early on meant there was no way for he and Duval to make any recovery.

“There was a default, something happening on the electronics, and I had to come in and do a master reset,” said di Resta.

“The problem was we came out of the pits within five seconds of the leader, and as soon as they get within two seconds of you, you lose three, four seconds letting them by [with blue flags]. We were a lap down and with the way the rules are, you never get that back.

“It was a long and painful race from that point.”

On the pace of the 9X8, he added: “We were not on the pace we would like to be, we were certainly not at the fighting end of what the other manufacturers could do.

“You’ve got to try and optimize everything for the position you’re in, but we need to be quicker to try and reward ourselves.”

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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