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Muller likely to return to Peugeot WEC line-up for Bahrain

Injured Peugeot driver Nico Muller is on course to return to the French manufacturer’s World Endurance Championship line-up in time for November’s Bahrain series finale. 

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8 of Nico Muller

The Swiss driver’s recovery from the injuries that led to his replacement for this weekend’s Fuji round by reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne is on schedule and Peugeot is currently planning for him to retake his place in the #94 9X8 alongside Loic Duval and Gustavo Menezes at the eight-hour race on 4 November. 

Olivier Jansonnie, technical director on the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar programme, said: “For now that is the plan: Nico should be in Bahrain. 

“At the moment the news is pretty good; his recovery is going well.”

Jansonnie explained that a final decision will likely be made at the last minute ahead of the Bahrain fixture. 

The nature and cause of Muller’s injuries has not been disclosed by Peugeot, which has so far refused to answer questions on the subject. 

Vandoorne will be driving the Peugeot LMH contender in anger for only the second time over the course of the Fuji 6 Hours meeting this weekend.  

His only previous outing in the car of any significance came when he took part in a test at the Aragon circuit in Spain in March, although he has also undertaken a shakedown run. 

Stoffel Vandoorne, Peugeot Sport reserve driver

Stoffel Vandoorne, Peugeot Sport reserve driver

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

A first run for the Belgian driver in the 9X8 was scheduled at the WEC rookie test at Bahrain last November after his recruitment by Peugeot sister brand DS for its 2022/23 Formula E World Championship with Penske.

Vandoorne was subsequently ruled out of the test because he was suffering from appendicitis and required an operation. 

He was then announced as reserve driver for the 9X8 programme in February of this year.

Vandoorne revealed that he had spent time in the 9X8 simulator at Peugeot Sport headquarters at Satory on the outskirts of Paris after receiving his call-up for Fuji two weeks ago.

He described it as “very valuable” in order to reacquaint himself with the systems and procedures in the 9X8 after driving both the DS E-Tense FE23 FE contender and the Aston Martin AMR23 at the Spa Pirelli tyre test in the summer in his capacity as reserve driver for the British Formula 1 team.  

“I’ve been switching between quite a lot of cars lately”, he said. “Every team has a little bit of a different layout with the buttons [on the steering wheel].

“To have a little refresher in the sim before coming here was good.”

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