Anthony Davidson admits that he and Peugeot are 'obsessed' by the Le Mans 24 Hours and triumphing in the race widely-acknowledged to be the toughest in the world – and he asserts that reliability-wise this time around, the team is 'as on top of it as you can be'.
Davidson was denied a shot at glory at La Sarthe last year on his debut for Peugeot alongside current team-mates Alex Wurz and Marc Gené. The trio were in with a genuine shout of victory, battling back spiritedly from mid-race alternator woes to close to within striking-distance of the two leading Audis when their car's engine agonisingly blew in the 22nd hour, meaning all four 908s exited the fray with similar ailments on a miserable weekend indeed for the French manufacturer.
That prompted the ex-Super Aguri F1 star to pronounce afterwards that 'I'm going to win this race one day; I don't care how long it takes...I'm going to be there standing on top of that damn top step of the podium if it kills me' [see separate story – click here
]. Twelve months on, his viewpoint has changed not a jot.
“We're obsessed by this race,” the 32-year-old told Crash.net
. “The more times you do it, the more it grips you and the more you want to win it. That's still the case today. Again, I have a good chance to win it – a one-in-six chance, pretty much, maybe one-in-seven if you include the Oreca. It's definitely pretty good odds, and nothing to really be that pessimistic about.
“We're as on top of reliability as you can be. We feel we learnt a lot from last year's race, both in terms of driving and from the technical side, and we feel like we're in a very good position, but obviously you can never be 100 per cent sure, and that's the excitement of this race.”
And what would it mean to Anthony Davidson to avenge his cruel misfortune in 2010 and conquer Le Mans to mount that elusive top step of the podium?
“I can't even go there!” he fires back. “I can't imagine actually what it would feel like. I've got two team-mates who know what it feels like, so I've got the right ingredients in my car and I know it's capable of winning the race. It's up to all of us to do as good a job as we can, not just in our car but as a whole team, and to remain adaptable and focus on strategy and focus on being there at the end and not tripping up at all as drivers in traffic or anything going wrong with the car.
“It even comes down, I think in this race, to whoever gets a puncture will not win – it's going to be that close. You've got some serious competition; [the Audi] is not just a fast car, they're a serious team as well, spending F1 kind of budget to compete at a very high level of endurance racing. It's not going to be easy for either team, so whoever is lucky enough to survive the whole race without anything going wrong will be the winning car, I guarantee it.”