Peugeot Lodge Protest Against Audi R15 TDI Bodywork

This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans has barely started and the controversy already made its way between rivals Audi and Peugeot. According to a press release issued by the latter, the French manufacturer lodged a protest against their German rivals on grounds of illegal aerodynamic devices present on the front end of Audi R15 TDI's bodywork.

Peugeot submitted their protest to the International Automobile Federation (FIA) before the first practice session at the Le Mans circuit, due to take place later today at 18.00 PM local time.

It would indeed seem that two features of the Audi R15 - in the configuration in which it was shown at technical scrutineering for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours on June 8 - do not comply with Article 3.6.2 of the current technical regulations: the flap which links the two front wings; the appendages fixed to the inner surface of the front wings,” said the press release from Peugeot Sport.

These appendages and this flap effectively form part of the bodywork and their sole purpose is to generate downforce. These bodywork parts are considered to be aerodynamic elements. Since they do not appear on the list of aerodynamic elements authorised by Article 3.6.2, they are consequently not permitted,” added the statement.

Peugeot's team boss Olivier Quesnel revealed that his team knew about Audi's bodywork issue from the very first confrontation with the R15 TDIs at the 12 Hours of Sebring race, but waited until now to lodge an official protest because the FIA needed more time to look into the matter. Quesnel made it very clear that this is not a personal battle with Audi, but solely a measure by which they seek clarification of the matter.

“I insist on the fact that our approach is constructive and not aggressive. It seeks to clarify what is an unclear situation with a view to obtaining clear, precise regulations in order to prepare for the future. All competitors need stable, firm regulations that apply to everyone, with a strong regulatory body capable of taking decisions,” said the French boss.

We intend to take this matter to its conclusion, not with the intention of weakening endurance racing but of making it stronger. Should our protest not be upheld by the sporting stewards, we will lodge an appeal with motorsport's supreme governing body, the FIA.

As a reminder, the 77th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race will run under the new rule book set by the ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest) for the 2009 – 2011 season.
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