Q & A with Stephane Sarrazin

Stephane Sarrazin spearheaded Peugeot's charge in qualifying in the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours when he dominated qualifying with the turbo-diesel coupe

Q & A with Stephane Sarrazin

AUTOSPORT asked him if he thought he could do it again ahead of qualifying for this year's French classic

Q. You lost so much time yesterday with the wet practice, does that put you under pressure?

Stephane Sarrazin: It was too wet to find a good set-up for the dry so we will do some long runs with Sebastien to set-up the car because we all need to happy, Franck, Seb and me.

Q. How is that working out, your new driver line-up? Is it gelling?

SS: It is a bit more difficult I would say. Franck and myself have the same style so we do not need two different set-ups but with Sebastien, he is a bit more sensitive to the rear of the car so we cannot have any oversteer. So we need to set-up the car for Sebastien to drive.

Q. So you will probably have to drive around Bourdais' style a little?

SS: Yes I think so. But it is a battle of endurance and we are three drivers who together need to make the fastest overall average - not one very lap and one very slow. So everybody needs to be happy and confident, because it is such a long and difficult race that if you drive eight or ten hours with a car you don't like it is not good.

Q. How much time have you lost thanks to the new rules?

SS: Depends, but probably five seconds. We have much less downforce. In the Porsche Curves there is no comparison. Last year the car was so stuck on the track, now it's twitchy.

Q. Has the loss of downforce changed the personality of the car completely?

SS: It's more sensitive. Now we need to be more gentle. It is easier to make a mistake. Last year we had very big grip with the extra downforce.

Q. What do you make of the Audi R15 TDI so far? Has Peugeot's advantage gone?

SS: Yes. We don't have it any more. They have a very fast car. We will see, but I am only really concentrating on my car and focussing on the job. We need to have a good set-up, a good car, and after that we can only do the maximum. In that respect I don't care about Audi, we need to have a good race without problems and without mistake and we will see what we can do. I think we can be in a very good position because we have three very fast cars in the team.

Q. There doesn't appear to be much in it between the three cars...

SS: No the performance level is very similar. I think it is a big team this year.

Q. The focus has to be on teamwork, organisation and strategy after last year doesn't it?

SS: The new boss (Peugeot Sport director Olivier Quesnel) has changed a lot of things, he is pushing the mechanics and the engineers very hard. The team is a different, everything is more precise. The team has been practicing the tyre changes very hard and also we know our car better because it is one year older. We have more experience with it.

Q. You could argue that the car is at it's optimum now that it is three years old.

SS: Definitely. We are now at the top level of the 908. At the same time, with reliability you never know. At the test it was quite good, but yesterday we had some problems. I had some problem with the wiper, but it is fixed now.

Q. Does the Peugeot protest of Audi, put unnecessary tension on the drivers?

SS: From my point of view, I don't care. I am just concentrating on my car. I think about it when you ask me, but not when I am talking to my engineer. It's not a sport problem, it is one for engineers. Whether it is correct or not I don't know.

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