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.