First top-five finish for Team Peugeot TotalEnergies
Portimao, Portugal, April 17th 2023 - The FIA World Endurance Championship returned to action this weekend in Portimão (Portugal) at the Autodromo Internacional Do Algarve for round two of the 2023 season.
The meeting provided Team Peugeot TotalEnergies with the opportunity to build on the progress made in its recent development test sessions. Progress that was indeed confirmed in qualifying as the two Peugeot 9X8s grabbed places on the third and fifth rows of the starting grid. In the race itself, Paul Di Resta had to start from the pit lane in the no.93, unfortunately, after the power steering was changed on the car shortly before the start. However, the Scot and his crew produced a solid performance, managing to fight back to claim seventh overall. Meanwhile, thanks to its consistent race pace and efficient pit stops carried out by the mechanics, the no. 94 Peugeot 9X8 driven by Nico Müller, Gustavo Menezes and Loïc Duval crossed the line in fifth position, despite suffering a defective regulatory transmission sensor that forced the team to manage the closing stages of the race in safe mode.
“Overall, I think we can say it was a good race,” analysed Loïc Duval. “In terms of strategy, I think we did the best we could for the no. 94 car. Nico made a very good start to the race and so did Gustavo, who started to run into problems on his second stint with FIA transmission sensor. It affected the power we had available and we had to drive in different modes. Things gradually got worse and worse: I had to do two stints like that and it was tough mentally because there was nothing I could do about it. But we hung in there and fought to finish P5, which is a good result for the team and a big step forward compared to Sebring. Everyone should be proud of what we achieved here. We now have to keep it up in the next few races.” The weekend was however more difficult for the Alpine Elf Endurance Team, which struggled for balance on both LMP2 prototypes. The French outfit nonetheless showed plenty of grit and determination to claim the points for ninth and eleventh places. Their focus has already shifted to the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (27-29 April), as the team looks to reach a new level in terms of performance.