More than a month after 9X8’s first big game in the tournament, Peugeot is still interested in learning with a view to the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2023. Despite many kilometers in testing, reliability problems have not left the two models entered by the French team in the 6 Hours of Monza.
Menezes: “I am happy with what we achieved in this first day”
“We tested before Monza, but there is no substitute for the pressure of a race weekendexplains Gustavo Menezes, American pilot of n°94. We have made some progress since then. We discover a new track in Fuji. We are very pleased with what we achieved on this first day. There is still a lot to learn to continue building our weekend. »
In Japan, Sochaux Hypercar gets a good base to work with the circuit at the foot of Mount Fuji. “It is a track with many corners, some are at low speed, some are at high speed, so it is very interesting for the car”, judges Jean-Marc Finot, Director of Stellantis Motorsport. At the Toyota-owned track, the model that Menezes shares with Loïc Duval and James Rossiter even came close to just 0.268 seconds off the best time recorded by the GR010 Hybrid n°8 of Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa during the first session of Free Practice.
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While the Japanese picked up the pace during the second driving session of the day, dropping under 1:30 minutes (1:29.948 for the n°7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López), the Peugeots remained at their morning levels . , while Alpine drags its underwhelming Performance Balance. The main thing was somewhere else. “The most important thing today was not to have reliability problems, Says Gustavo Menezes. Our goal is to have the best weekend and get the best results. A hypercar is a very complex car with many electronic systems. To get maximum performance, we need to optimize each setting. It is a step by step process. »
At Monza, the Lion manufacturer had particular problems with traffic congestion. “Monza was our first race. We discovered a few issues with the car that were not possible to identify during testing, explains Jean-Marc Finot. We’ve been working on fixing this, but expect to see new ones. Of course we want to win every race we come to, but we know 2022 is a learning year for us. »
Peugeot has made some changes to avoid the temperature problems experienced by the gearbox during the Lombard incident. “We are looking to do better and better race after race, continues the leader of the three colors. It is good to have problems all day after Monza. » If problems stay away from the two 9X8s over the weekend, the pace set on Friday could allow them to claim the first podium in the race.
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