Peugeot Sport boss Olivier Quesnel believes his team would have beaten Audi to Sebring 12 Hours victory but for Sebastien Bourdais' late puncture.
The lead Peugeot and Audis ran together throughout yesterday's race until a puncture forced Bourdais to pit out of sequence with three hours to go. The #2 Audi of Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen eventually beat the #8 Peugeot by 22 seconds.
"Finishing second has a bitter taste," said Quesnel. "It's very frustrating to have missed out so narrowly on victory, and that was probably due to our slow puncture.
"The 908 HDi FAP proved competitive against its rivals and the team did a first class job with an interesting strategy."
Franck Montagny, who tried in vain to keep the Peugeot close enough to McNish to regain the lead when the Audi made its final splash and go stop, agreed that his team was fast enough to have won.
"I'm disappointed with the weekend's result, but I am still pleased with the work we managed to put in here at Sebring," he said.
"The new Audi was beatable round this circuit which wasn't ideal for the 908, which is a very lively car. The team has worked well over the winter and I feel optimistic for the rest of the programme."
The #7 Peugeot also fought for the lead until losing nine laps in the pits with air conditioning problems, and ultimately retired with a late gearbox failure. It was classified fifth.
"It was a positive weekend on the whole, although we were affected by problems which mustn't occur again," said Quesnel.
But the team's technical director Bruno Famin felt that overall the Sebring programme had been a success, and gave the team confidence for Le Mans.
"Our mission here was to test the 2009 version of the 908 HDi FAP, and notably its air conditioning system," he said. "Despite the problem suffered by the #07 car, we still managed to complete practically 12 hours with both cars.
"We have made spectacular, encouraging progress, and other new features like the aerodynamics and engine settings functioned well."