ACO rejects Peugeot protest, Peugeot appeals


© Planetlemans – Brecht Decancq

The off-track battle between Peugeot and Audi has continued after the free practice session last night when the Automobile Club de l’Ouest announced its decision on Peugeot’s protest in which Peugeot questioned the legality of the three Audi R15 TDI cars entered here for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

According to a press release sent out by Team Peugeot Total the team was notified of the decision by the Sporting Stewards of the ACO at 23.33 on Wednesday night, just under half an hour before the end of the session. The ACO told Peugeot it had decided ‘not to uphold the protest’.

The notification which was sent to Peugeot gives the following explanation of the ACO: “…the ACO has the discretionary power to deem whether or not the sole function of an element of bodywork is to generate downforce… …it is based on this discretionary power of appreciation, compounded by the exclusive power it has to interpret the technical regulations as laid out in Article 18, that the ACO homologates the cars which take part in the events covered by its regulations.”

Despite the ACO again confirming that the Audi R15 TDI is, from their point of view, compliant to the current set of regulations Team Peugeot Total has a different interpretation of the regulations and therefore decided to appeal the decision. The appeal was made within an hour after the team was notified of the Steward’s decision.

Audi has yet to make a formal statement about the protest, but yesterday various people at the team made it clear that Audi is sure it is working within the regulations and that this is a matter between the ACO and Peugeot.

With the annual ACO press conference set to take place later this morning and the ACO already announcing a meeting for technical directors and engineers in charge of the design of the cars in Le Mans at the end of June it seems certain that this story will be continued for some while.

13 Comments on ACO rejects Peugeot protest, Peugeot appeals

  1. ACO are just frenchickens

    Put the front splitter (ACTUALLY just a formula 1´esque front wing) OUT and check the radical decrease of the amount of downforce generated in that part of the car. WINGS are forbiden in that part of the car, no matter if it´s covered with rule-compliant bodywork…it´s still a WING.

    ACO should check twice what the term wing means inside their rules.


  2. There are some seriously sour grapes being pressed here – the resulting wine isn’t likely to win any plaudits for Peugeot……

  3. It’s now becoming very much like Formula 1 all over again. One would wonder what is going to happen now. So, the Audis race under the threat of being sanctioned by the FIA?

    Note that most people here are quite divided. Having read the regulation a few times, it’s very ambiguously worded because it becomes a very hard area to police, and the difference between the letter of the law and the intended spirit of what the result was to be produced differing results. It’s also a matter of creativity, which is dependent on the designer themselves to EXPLOIT the rules to the best possible manner.

    A few things to remember: the Audi is the new kid on the block in design. The Peugeot is the third evolution of a design penned in 2006. 3 years is a lot of time, look at the massive changes in the world, even in motorsports. You tell me that it’s illegal. At one level I agree. At another level, I completely do not.

  4. Audi hasn’t made a statement because they’re letting Peugeot dig themselves deeper. Meanwhile, Peugeot needs to drink a big brimming cup of STFU. They’re coming across as whiners on this. They made their try — which they should have known they’d lose — and now they should just get down to it and get the cars ready for Saturday.

  5. hehehe……. Peugeot didn’t complain when Audi lobbying bought the works diesels a sizeable advantage.
    The problem in much top line motorsport remains this – that works teams are not scrutineered in the same way as the privateers. In this instance, Peugeot appear to have been caught out, failing to take advantage of the laxity of the stewards in the same way as the Audi designers.

  6. I don’t get it. Was the yesterdays protest TURNED DOWN? The story mentions Peugeot’s second appeal (to ACO again??). What’s the point? Why didn’t Pugs appeal to a higher gov. budy like FFSA or FIA then?

  7. They are appealing to the FIA. Pug reps already stated that they expected the ACO to not uphold the appeal because it would just show that they didn’t catch their own mistake during scrutineering.

  8. @modbaraban – FFSA and FIA don’t run the event, the ACO do and therefore make there own decisions. The wording of the decision makes it pretty clear that they know Peugeot are complaining about, but have chosen to use their own discretion – they’re going to ignore that the Audi is technically in breach of the rules.

    It’s an unfortunate result of what happens when lobbyists are given a foothold.

  9. The Audi is in accordance with the rule for the same reason the small rear wing was allowed last year at Le Mans.

    The ACO only considers it a wing if if the cord shape matches a wing profile.As long as Audi’s front “wing” has the same cord size across the length of said piece then its not considered by the ACO not to be to an aero advantage even though we all know it helps.

  10. Flash! This just in!

    ACO rejects Peugeot’s protest for the 12th time!

    In a fit of anger, Peugeot protests themselves.!

  11. Now the race is hanging under a cloud of an FIA protest, which, in my opinion, will side with the ACO – as it had done in Formula 1. The regulations were drawn up by the ACO, so I don’t think that the FIA would interpret the way that Peugeot want them to. It comes across as Formula 1 2009 diffuser issue all over again. Only this time it’s only 1 team versus another team.

    From a technical standpoint, the regulation in question is ambiguous, thus the problem then becomes one of interpretation. I would be honestly surprised if Audi designed a vehicle without extensive consultation with the FIA and ACO. In my opinion, the vehicle is legal so let’s get on with it.

    This is written after the Peugeot 908 took pole, so honestly I don’t know what Peugeot are complaining about, unless Audi are sandbagging and have something up their sleeve. This is pretty good considering that the Peugeot 908 is a car that was designed nearly 3 years ago now and the Audi is really a clean sheet of paper design. Coupled with reports that the Audi were using their tyres more aggressively than the Peugeot was at Sebring, well it appears that Peugeot have more in their favour than they are letting on.

    If Peugeot are scared of losing the race, then why didn’t they spend more time poaching drivers, designers and engineers rather than spending money on lawyers arguing about the legality? When the flag drops, the ^@!$ stops.

  12. Wasn’t that like the third time the R15 was cleared by the ACO? What was the point of this protest? It sure doesn’t make Peugeot look any better. It’s apparent that Peugeot is VERY afraid of Audi new beast, or what I would like to call the Audi Manta Ray because it looks a manta ray on wheels. I like how Audi is keeping quiet about this. It’s like their saying “Yeah, we would like to speak on this issue, but we’re too busy preparing for the race.”

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