Buoyed by four consecutive 'doubles' and the work undertaken over the last year, Team Peugeot Total arrived ready and determined for 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours race. During qualifying, the superior performance of the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP carried it to its fourth pole position in a row. In fact, Peugeot took the first four places on the grid (three works' 908s on the first three positions and an Oreca Peugeot 908 in fourth).
On Saturday at 3pm, when the race started, the 908s led for the first three hours headed by car #3. Unfortunately, just before the 3.5 hour point, a broken suspension mounting point eliminated the car of Sebastien Bourdais, Pedro Lamy and Simon Pagenaud.
The three remaining Peugeots continued to lead the race until nightfall, when the #1 car of Anthony Davidson, Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz had to pit for the replacement of the starter motor/alternator management system. This put the #2 car of Nicolas Minassian, Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin into the lead, which they held comfortably. Then, early on Sunday morning, an engine issue put them out of the race.
Team Peugeot Total then focused all its attention on the remaining #1 car, but two hours before the finish of the race the last factory Peugeot, which had been making rapid progress through the field and was gaining on the leaders, also went out with an engine failure. Finally, the Peugeot Oreca retired for the same reason during the last hour of the race, after having posted the fastest race lap time.
"Since its debut, the 908 HDi FAP has never had such engine problems," declared Bruno Famin, Technical Director of Peugeot Sport.
For Olivier Quesnel, Director of Peugeot Sport who appeared close to tears at the end: "We started at a quick pace in the face of a strong adversary. We were faster than them, but weren't as reliable. What counts is the final victory, not the top speed. We have had four consecutive 'doubles', and you know that can't go on forever. Unfortunately, our luck turned here. But we did everything we had to, to win.
"We will analyse what went wrong. We have the right to be disappointed, but we will get to work, to come back even stronger in 2011. We showed daring and we showed our values. It is a huge disappointment but now we must make sure it doesn't happen again. We lost the return match today, but we will play the decider next year."