Peugeot's sports car arm completed an excellent year on Saturday by adding Petit Le Mans victory to its Le Mans 24 Hours triumph – and this time it was the #08 car of Stephane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny that emerged victorious.
Afterward, Sarrazin explained how the race was won.
Q. Earlier in the race it didn't look so good for you guys, did it?
Stephane Sarrazin: Yeah, yeah, because in the wet it was really difficult at the beginning for us. And we were waiting for the dry condition or full wet, because intermediate conditions were really difficult with the rear of our car with a dry set-up.
Q. Was that because the tires were getting chewed up too quickly?
SS: The rear of the car was really unbalanced. I had a really good front end, but the rear was sliding all over the place. It was not [a case of just] push the throttle so I was really struggling with the car. But it was our choice to go with a dry set-up, so when the dry weather came it was really good.
Q. For most of the race Audi seemed to be in control, did you feel the rain was the determining factor in your victory?
SS: No. They were really quick at the beginning but this was not so heavy rain. If it would be heavy rain - not dangerous like at the end – then it would have been different. So when the dry came and we were on slicks, we caught them quite quickly. It was just like that. All the week we went very quickly, we were happy with the balance of the car, no big problem.
Q. It's the right result for you though because you have been the quickest car all weekend.
SS: Exactly. We were just not expecting such big rain today. I was a bit disappointed because we would like to do a proper race in the dry conditions for 10 hours flat-out. I was waiting for the last hour in the night, in my head I was thinking about fighting with Allan [McNish]. To be able to have a last-lap battle like that would have been very cool.
Q. Do you feel robbed that you didn't get to do the race the way you wanted to?
SS: I'm happy, but is very good to cross the line as a winner. It feels like a bit of an anti-climax. But we finished second at Sebring, and Le Mans we did first and second but our car had a problem, so I am very happy to be finish first with Franck. Franck and me and big friends and we were happy with the setup. We can improve because we push each other.
Q. Do you think that Peugeot is now the team to beat in sportscar racing?
SS: Yeah, I think we have improved a lot. Since Olivier [Quesnel] arrived in this team, we have improved a lot. Now the mechanics are more sure, more confident, now they have won. It is a completely different team now and they are working even harder. But we won. Now with Audi, we have shown definitely that we can beat them.
Q. Also while you were busy winning, your Peugeot rally stable-mate Kris Meeke won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title, what do you think of that?
SS: It's very cool. I'm very happy for him. To win the San Remo on your first time is amazing. He is a very quick guy, very cool. I think I helped him a bit, because I did a set-up. Two weeks ago I was testing in San Remo and I worked with a new setup, which he was very happy with, so I am very happy for him also.