Le Mans »

Quesnel: The old guard did us proud!

Olivier Quesnel paid tribute to his 'warriors' in the #9 car after David Brabham, Marc Gene and Alex Wurz secured victory for Peugeot in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Having lost out to Audi for the last two seasons, the Peugeot squad finally secured its first La Sarthe success with the 908 HDi, with the win being the third for the French outfit following back-to-back victories in 1992 and 1993.

The #9 car had arguably been the least-fancied of the Peugeots going into the race, with the all-French line-up of Stephane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny and Sebastien Bourdais starting the race as favourite from pole position.

Indeed, the #8 car led the early stages of the race before being delayed in the pits, at which point the #9 car hit the front.

The experience of the three drivers at the wheel then paid dividends as the car remained out front from just before the five hour mark through to the finish, turning quick and consistent laps and staying out of trouble.

"Before the start, I used a French cycling analogy to describe the crew of the #8 car as 'sprinters', the #7 crew as 'road sprinters' and the #9 drivers as 'warriors',” Peugeot Sport director Quesnel said. “Today, it was the 'warriors' who won. I really sense that the public and Automobiles Peugeot wanted this result. We faced a huge challenge and we succeeded in rising to it.

"We were here as challengers, and our mission was to try to topple the favourites. And that is exactly what we did, essentially by steering clear of the different potential pitfalls in our path. It turned out to be a terrific race, and Peugeot Sport is a truly magnificent team. I am so proud of all the people who were involved in this project. This win is Peugeot Sport's win."

The #8 car ended up second as Peugeot secured a popular 1-2 finish, while the #7 car recovered from a lengthy pit-stop to take the flag in sixth after battling back through the field.

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Nanbawan - Unregistered

June 16, 2009 12:58 AM

There was an interesting interview of Quesnel today on French radio. He gave some info on how he managed the race. At some point in the Le Mans 24, the remaining Audi started to post faster lap times (3mn28) while Peugeot wanted to maintain a 3mn30 pace for the leaders, he then used the #7 and asked Minassian to accelerate and do a 3mn24. The goal was to show Audi that there was plenty more left and that there was no point chasing the Peugeots on sheer pace !

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