Peugeot has defended the strategical decision that led to its cars qualifying well down the grid for the Spa 1000km.
All three 908 HDIs remained in the pits until the final third of the session, and were on-track when Matthieu Lahaye crashed his Oak Pescarolo heavily into the barriers, bringing out a red flag that eventually led to the session being ended prematurely.
Marc Gene was the highest-placed factory driver at the time in 13th, while Simon Pagenaud was 18th as both aborted potentially quick laps due to heavy traffic. Stephane Sarrazin was not able to put in a flying lap before the red flags and so will start back in 50th position.
Peugeot Sport technical director Bruno Famin said that the team had simply suffered a case of bad luck.
"As we are positioned at the start of the pit lane, we had to wait until all of our rivals had gone out before we could head out onto the track, to avoid the traffic, so we had no choice but to wait for a clear window to head out onto the track," Famin said. "Obviously, that left us vulnerable to this sort of incident. It's just part and parcel of racing."
Famin said that preparing for next month's Le Mans 24 Hours was of more importance than of beating rival Audi – which swept the front three grid positions – to victory at Spa.
"The start looks like it will be difficult, we'll have to steer clear of any collisions, but it is a long race and things will take shape as the race progresses," he added. "We are fighters.
"Above all, we're here to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and we are determined to achieve our objective. If we can get through the six hours of the race without any problems, we shouldn't be too far away from the front runners."