Le Mans polesitter Stephane Sarrazin and Peugeot team principal Serge Saulnier have claimed that they were not gunning all-out for a qualifying time, despite beating Audi to pole position by three quarters of a second with a late run in Thursday night's final qualifying session.
Sarrazin appeared to be on a charge 35 minutes before the end, but missed pole at his first attempt when he came up behind Andre Lotterer's No. 14 Kolles Audi R10 at the Porsche Curves. He immediately set off on another quick lap, but this time had to duck around Tom Kristensen in the No. 1 Audi R15 at Indianapolis and once again fell tantalizingly short of the top spot.
After pitting for new tires, Sarrazin embarked on another quick run and a traffic-free lap enabled him to displace the No. 1 Audi by just over seven tenths of a second. But he insisted that Peugeot hadn't gone all-out to set pole.
"We set up the car for the race," said Sarrazin. "We just tried at the end to do a good time, but the most important thing was for Sebastien [Bourdais], Franck [Montagny] and me to be happy with the setup. It's nice to start from pole, with less traffic and maybe less chance of mistake. We will see."
Saulnier added: "We didn't really chase the pole. At the end we planned to try the soft tire for the night during the race, and apparently it works quite well -- the performance of the car was there.
"But, seriously, we did not really try to chase the pole -- we were working for the race. At the end we have the pole, but it was not the main objective."