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WEC Fuji

First Peugeot 9X8 WEC win still "very far away"

A first World Endurance Championship victory for the Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar is still “very far away”, according to programme technical director Olivier Jansonnie.

#93 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Eric Vergne

The claim made ahead of the resumption of the WEC after its summer break at Fuji this weekend came despite a first podium for the French car at the previous round of the championship at Monza.

The #93 entry shared by Paul di Resta, Jean-Eric Vergne and Mikkel Jensen took the first top-three finish for the 9X8 after leading much of the opening stint of the Monza 6 Hours in July.

“At Monza we had good performance, very good at the start of the race, not so good at the end,” Jansonnie said.

“If you look at the performance over the full race, we are still missing a bit compared with Toyota and Ferrari.

“On top of that, we had an issue with one car."

The sister #94 entry driven by Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes and Nico Muller was hit by gear-selection issues.

Duval, who will share #94 this weekend with Menezes and Peugeot reserve Stoffel Vandoorne after Muller was ruled out with an undisclosed injury, reiterated Jansonnie’s comments.

Of a victory, he said: “It still doesn’t feel that close, to be honest.

“When we saw the performance we had last year, and the momentum we have had since the Le Mans 24 Hours, I would say I have good expectations to be in the game.

“We had some hard times but it’s coming a bit towards us and we can try to raise our game and try to reach what we want to reach, which is a podium every weekend.”

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Nico Müller

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Nico Müller

Photo by: Eric Le Galliot

Jansonnie stressed the primary goal for Peugeot remains getting both cars to the finish without problems.

“At Monza we lost a car pretty early in the race, so that reduces your chance of a good result by 50%,” he said.

“Keeping both cars in the race with the right strategy and on the right tyres will be the biggest target.”

Peugeot believes it has overcome the shifting problem from Monza after introducing new mechanical parts over the course of a three-day test at Portimao in the break between Monza and Fuji.

This was a further revision of the new hydraulic system introduced for the Portimao round of the WEC in April.

Jansonnie said that he is expecting Fuji “to be a good track for us” based on the evidence of last year: it made a significant step forward from the debut of the 9X8 at Monza.

But he pointed out that a change in the deployment speed for the Peugeot’s front axle hybrid system should have no effect on the balance between the cars competing in the Hypercar class this weekend.

The Peugeot will be able put power through the front wheels from 135km/h in dry conditions, a reduction from 150km/h, though the high figure remains in place when the track is wet.

A single Balance of Performance for the final three rounds of this year’s WEC was released ahead of Monza, though separate tables for each race were issued.

The different values in the tables, including the Peugeot’s deployment speed, reflect the different characteristics of the Monza, Fuji and Bahrain circuits.

“It is one, single BoP for the three races that has been adapted for each individual track,” explained Jansonnie. “It should give the same result basically.”

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