Hugues de Chaunac reflected that it was understandably 'very disappointing' to see Oreca-Matmut's #4 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP grind to a halt early on in opening qualifying for this weekend's 78th edition of the legendary round-the-clock Le Mans 24 Hours classic – but he affirmed that he remains 'really confident' of a strong showing come the race.
Prior to the breakdown, Nicolas Lapierre had set a scintillating pace in the car he is sharing with former Monaco Grand Prix-winner Olivier Panis and ex-A1GP and Formula Nippon star Loïc Duval, and was showing the way to the trio of 'works' Peugeots until he unfortunately suffered a fuel feed problem in the first hour of the session and stopped out on-track at Arnage.
Impressively, the French trio remained on top of the timesheets for quite some time, but perhaps inevitably as the pace intensified, the factory 908s moved ahead to annex the leading three positions. Even so, to wind up less than a second-and-a-half shy of pole having completed far fewer laps than their immediate rivals was quite a feat – and suggests Oreca will be a force to be reckoned with indeed come the race.
“We had at the same time a problem with the radio and a lack of fuel,” the French outfit's boss de Chaunac told Crash.net
. “It's very disappointing because I think we were in a good position to share at least the front row, but the main thing that is important is that there are four Peugeots at the front and we are still amongst them.”
Whilst conceding that the grid order may well now be settled given that rain is forecast for Thursday evening's sessions, the Frenchman revealed his conviction that there is more speed yet to be extracted from the car, and concluded: “We have to finish the race, and if we finish the race we will be on the podium.”