With wet weather enveloping Le Mans during the second day of qualifying on Thursday, Stephane Sarrazin and Peugeot were left to celebrate securing pole position for the 75th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The Frenchman took provisional pole just before midnight on Wednesday with a stunning lap of 3m 26.344s which enabled him to edge out the Audi of Allan McNish, with the rain that hit La Sarthe at the start of the third and fourth qualifying sessions ensuring that the time wouldn't be beaten - leaving Sarrazin to reflect on one of his best ever laps of the famous venue.

"My fastest lap on Wednesday evening was one of my best ever at Le Mans," he said. "The closer to end of the session we got, the more the track dried out and the more the tension mounted. I gave it everything I had and even took a few risks passing the slower cars because there was a lot of traffic about and the track was still damp in places."

With no fast laps possible, the Peugeot team focused on performing some serious wet running on Thursday, with Sebastien Bourdais securing the fastest time amongst the Peugeot crew in third place in the wet in the #8 908 HDi.

"I posted my fastest time after going over a gravel trap when I locked up after being unsighted by another car," he said. "It damaged the splitter, but nothing catastrophic. Stephane did a great job qualifying the car and it's great to see the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP on pole position for its first attempt at the Le Mans 24 Hours. My dearest wish now is to make it all the way to the finish."

However, things didn't go to plan for the sister car, which will start the race on the second row of the grid, after Marc Gene slid off into the barrier at Arnage - the #7 entry spending the rest of the session parked up at the side of the circuit as a result.

"I locked up the front end under braking for Arnage and went straight on," the Spaniard admitted. "The car suffered a little front end damage, but nothing serious. I am obviously very, very disappointed that we
weren't able to complete the evening's programme but I have to say that the car is really nicely balanced as its stands."

Less than two years since the programme started, pole position for the biggest race of them all left Peugeot Sport director Michel Barge a happy man, although he was quick to point out that the team's objective had always been to fight for victory at Le Mans in 2008 - thereby trying to lower expectations heading into the race this weekend.

"It is obviously very satisfying to have qualified on pole," he said. "Since the green light was given to the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP programme barely 18 months ago, we have taken the successive challenges we have faced one at a time: the car's first track test in January, our first LMS outings and wins at Monza and Valencia, the preliminary practice day here at Le Mans earlier in the month, which saw Sebastien Bourdais post the fastest time, and now this week's two qualifying sessions. These different hurdles have helped strengthen the bond between everyone in the team but we are all acutely aware that the build-up is one thing and the race another.

"We have never hidden the fact that our objective is 2008 and that anything we can learn in all domains between now and then will be very welcome experience. We have all been extremely focused so far, and that will continue to be the case over the coming days."


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