Olivier Jansonnie, technical director of the programme, believes that the pace in the opening stages of the eight-hour race before both cars hit problems proves the 9X8 was much more of a competitive proposition on its latest outing in the WEC.

“We were much more in the mix here in Bahrain, as we demonstrated during the early part of the race,” he said following the third race start for the car after Monza in July and Fuji in September.

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“We were quite satisfied at the beginning.

“After two stints when we started having issues, so the pace doesn’t say a lot anymore.

“But the first two stints were quite good in that respect.”

The improvement for Peugeot last weekend followed a 12kg reduction in the minimum weight of the car under the Balance of Performance as well as a small power reduction for Toyota.

Jansonnie admitted that Peugeot still has work to do over long runs and double stints on the tyres.

“It is probably something we need to work on, engineering-wise,” he said.

Paul di Resta converted his front row starting position into second position at the start in the #93 Peugeot and was never more than five seconds behind race leader Sebastien Buemi’s Toyota GR010 HYBRID prior to the first round of pitstops.

He dropped to third position behind the second Toyota during the stops and was just over 20s in arrears of Buemi when the car stopped out on track with a gearshift issue shortly before the end of the second hour.

#93 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Eric Vergne

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Di Resta, who shared the #93 car with Jean-Eric Vergne and Mikkel Jensen, was able to get going and after a four-minute stay in the garage Vergne returned to the track and set fastest lap of the race.

The #93 Peugeot subsequently retired in the sixth hour when the car lost fourth gear.

Jansonnie stated that he believed the two transmission problems were related but suggested that further analysis was required to be sure.

The second Peugeot also stopped on track with team newcomer Nico Muller at the wheel just three laps after di Resta.

This problem encountered by the car Muller shared with Loic Duval and Gustavo Menezes was unrelated to that suffered by #93, according to Jansonnie.

The fuel pump was subsequently changed with the loss of eight minutes when Duval stopped late in the fourth hour.

The #93 Peugeot ended up finishing fourth, six laps in arrears of the winning Toyota.

Jansonnie believes that the 9X8 is still on upward trend in terms of reliability despite the problems encountered in Bahrain.

“The car is still very young and we have some new problems,” he said.

“Fuji [in September] was quite positive, this race a bit less.

“But generally I think the trend is still the same: you have some ups and downs.”

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