Peugeot Looking to Dethrone Audi

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Last year, Audi North America dominated the American Le Mans Series especially in the P1 class. The team was able to do it with a race vehicle powered by diesel. The team was so dominating that they have won every race in their class last season. Apart from that, the Audi R10, the diesel powered racecar that dominated the ALMS, also won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The dominance of Audi on the track is about to be challenged by Peugeot. The latter announced that they will be testing a diesel powered Peugeot 908 HDI in Sebring. At the said tests, fans will have a glimpse at what Peugeot has in store for Audi next season.

Last year, during the tests for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Peugeot's diesel powered racecar was quicker than the Audi R10. But during the grueling endurance race, it was Audi that proved to be the best. It has gone on also to become the unquestionable pace setter in the American Le Mans Series.

Paddock Talk's Zach Wenzel reported that Audi may use their dominance last year in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the standard for this year's campaign. During that race, although the Peugeot proved to be faster during testing, the Audi R10 beat the other diesel powered car by ten laps. That humiliating defeat may have lit a fire under the French automaker-backed team.

Wenzel pointed out that the development of the 908 and its testing at Sebring is being done to see just how it compares to the R10. "Even if Peugeot are unable to compete with Audi at Sebring, the main focus of the 908 squad, managed by Serge Saulnier, is to gain a reference point on the R10's pace this coming season so they can take a stronger fight to Wolfgang Ullrich and Audi North America," reported Wenzel.

Both vehicles being powered by diesel fuel is making a great case in promoting diesel engines. In the United States where diesel engines have been avoided, the fact that Audi is dominating the American Le Mans Series with a diesel powered vehicle not equipped with is making people think that diesel engines are better alternatives than gasoline engines.

It is still not clear though whether Audi or Peugeot for that matter will be competing in the next season of the ALMS. Wenzel reported that the two automakers may even create a championship series of their own.

"Even if Peugeot are unable to compete with Audi at Sebring, the main focus of the 908 squad, managed by Serge Saulnier, is to gain a reference point on the R10's pace this coming season so they can take a stronger fight to Wolfgang Ullrich and Audi North America," reported Wenzel.

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