ANOTHER ONE-TWO FINISH FOR PEUGEOT
Today's race at Road Atlanta (USA) saw Peugeot secure its second one- two finish in the 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Victory in the 13th Annual Petit Le Mans went to the N°08 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP of Stéphane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny and Pedro Lamy. They finished ahead of the N°07 sister car (Davidson/Wurz/Gené) to give the team a handsome lead in the inaugural ILMC.
Just three weeks after the opening round at Silverstone, and a month before its visit to Zhuhai, China, Peugeot succeeded in claiming another one-two finish at one of the calendar's most complex races, if only because of the venue's usual problem of traffic. But Peugeot survived the combination of 44 cars on the track and the nine safety car interruptions with flying colours, even though the fight at the sharp end was as close as they come from the word go. "For the moment, we aren't taking any risks," reported Alexander Wurz shortly before the halfway point. "There's a car to overtake every 100 metres! We need to be on our toes all the time." However, the combination of the French team's perfect strategy and the fact that its drivers didn't make a single mistake allowed Peugeot Sport to come through the final phase unscathed to score an emphatic one-two finish.
A close fight from the early stages
At the wheel of the N°07 Peugeot that his team-mate Anthony Davidson had qualified on pole the previous day, Marc Gené got away cleanly in bright sunshine and in front of a big crowd. In his wake, Franck Montagny (N°08 Peugeot) and Allan McNish (N°7 Audi) immediately engaged in a thrilling fight which even saw the two cars touch at one stage.
A superb passing manoeuvre enabled Montagny to take control ahead of the best-placed Audi on Lap 11, and a long period ensued that saw the N°08 Peugeot and the N°7 Audi trade the lead several times as a function of their respective strategies and the frequent safety car appearances. With a field of 44 starters for this year's race, there were a high number of offs and collisions, which meant that picking a way through the traffic was particularly hard for the front-runners.
The situation tipped in favour of Peugeot shortly before the race's seventh hour when the N°7 Audi was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop. That allowed the two Team Peugeot Total 908 HDi FAPs to control from in front to the flag, with the N°08 car finishing in front of the N°07 machine.
Victory for the Peugeot N°08 of Sarrazin/Montagny/Lamy
After completing 394 laps (1000 miles) in a little over nine hours making it one of the fastest Petit Le Mans on record, Stéphane Sarrazin (N°08Peugeot) took the chequered flag in front, a minute clear of his British team-mate Anthony Davidson (N°07 Peugeot). For Sarrazin and Montagny, it was their second straight Petit Le Mans win.
Following its result in the 1000km of Silverstone at the beginning of September, it was Peugeot's second consecutive one-two finish in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, and also its second win this year in USA after its success in March's 12 Hours of Sebring. With the final round of the series in China (1000km of Zhuhai, November 6-7) still to come, Peugeot enjoys a strong lead at the top of the provisional ILMC standings.
Bruno Famin (Technical Director): "We had a very good strategy, and we used our two cars to protect us from the Audis. We didn't have a single technical issue, with the exception of slight body damage resulting from the occasional virile passing manoeuvres. The team did an absolutely impeccable job and all our drivers coped perfectly with the traffic. We haven't yet achieved our objective in the ILMC but we are close. We only need to get one 908 to the finish at Zhuhai to win the championship."
Pedro Lamy: "I couldn't have wished for a better way to celebrate my last outing in the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. Today's one-two finish is a great result for the team, and it's also my second win with Peugeot this year after Spa. It was important not to make any mistakes because everybody hit the ground running. In spite of the high number of safety car interruptions, and despite the traffic, my stint went well and the team couldn't be faulted on its strategy."
Franck Montagny: "Pedro, Stéphane and I prepared thoroughly for this race, but without any stress. The car is now a known entity, so we didn't have any concerns on that front. After that, we worked the way we usually do and, although it wasn't easy, this win was the fruit of solid groundwork. We were able to have total confidence in the team with regard to strategy. They showed that they master the niceties of American race tactics."
Stéphane Sarrazin: "It's been a perfect day for us. We' have taken our second win in the Petit Le Mans after our victory here in the wet in 2009. My team-mates Franck and Pedro did an outstanding job, as did the mechanics and everyone in the Peugeot Sport team. It was tough towards the end, after the sun had gone down, because there were a lot of slower cars on the track. It was important to stay focused all the way to the finish."
Anthony Davidson: "Peugeot won, and that's the main thing. It's a great result for the team. We decided to play it safe towards the end to be sure of reaching the finish. It was an incredibly difficult race and I am very pleased to have come second. If someone had told me beforehand that I would finish in this position, I would have signed on the line at once..."
Next round of the 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup 1000km of Zhuhai (China): November 6-7, 2010