Catalunya: Michelin race report

The first all-Michelin podium of the season! The opening round of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Barcelona produced a resounding win for the N7 Peugeot 908 HDI-FAP-Michelin driven by Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian. They were joined on the ...

The first all-Michelin podium of the season!

The opening round of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Barcelona produced a resounding win for the N7 Peugeot 908 HDI-FAP-Michelin driven by Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian. They were joined on the all-Michelin podium by the N2 Audi R10-TDI (Alexandre Premat/Mike Rockenfeller) and the N10 Lola Charouz shared by Jan Charouz and Stefan Mucke.

The LMP2 category saw the Porsche RS-Spyder claim its first win on European soil in the hands of Peter Van Merksteijn and Jos Verstappen. They were followed home by Andrea Belicchi, Xavier Pompidou and Steve Zacchia who were giving the Lola its race debut.

In the GT1 category, the N72 Luc Alphand Aventure Corvette C6.R headed another all- Michelin podium. Last but not least, the GT2 category saw second and third places go to the Felbermayer Proton and Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche 997s.

Matthieu Bonardel - Michelin Competition Four-wheel Manager:

"I would first of all like to congratulate Peugeot Sport on their win in the first race of the season. It was a very good day for Michelin, too, and we come away from Barcelona with a great deal of useful data. This circuit is particularly tough on tyres. On top of that, the track temperatures of more than 35C we encountered today led the majority of the teams to opt for reasonably hard compounds, although we did see some widely differing choices.

"Amongst the LMP1 runners, the medium compound worked well over a single stint, and even a bit more. At the end of their stints, the drivers still had some performance in hand. One car which stood out from the others was the N6 Courage-Oreca which spent 90% of the race on soft tyres. The car is new to us, however, so we don't know whether this trend will continue over the next races.

"Some prototypes went for bolder options, such as the LMP2s. Certain cars had soft tyres on the right-hand side and medium rubber on the left. The strategy was to keep the soft tyres for two stints and change the mediums on the left after every stint. These were interesting ideas and globally show that on a track that makes differing demands of each side of the car it is possible to run asymmetric choices on the left and right sides.

"In the GT1 category, the teams started on soft tyres before switching to harder rubber as soon as the track temperature rose above 35C. They based their strategies on single stints but the harder tyres had the legs to go further.

"As for the GT2 cars racing on commercially available, customer competition products, their Michelin tyres proved remarkable consistent as predicted. They nonetheless lacked a little pace to be in a position to challenge for victory. The Ferrari F430 running on rival tyres won the cross-category Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge which means that it succeeded in finding the best compromise between performance and low fuel consumption against all the other cars competing here today. Bravo!"

Michel Barge (Director, Peugeot Sport): "It was a great result to start the 2008 Le Mans Series against a rival of the calibre of Audi. Our cars were quick throughout and we didn't have any problems whatsoever. We are heading in the right direction and we hope it continues that way. Today's result was also due to the close collaboration that exists between the technical staff of Peugeot Sport and Michelin. Our car is built around its tyres and we all work together very effectively together. Michelin's 2008 tyres are absolutely impeccable."

Bruno Famin (Technical Director, Peugeot Sport): "Today's result with Michelin's 2008 tyres, which we were using for the first time in Europe, is very positive. Everything went very well. We thought about double-stinting but we soon found ourselves in front and we preferred to take the safer option, even though we were convinced that we could have double-stinted had that been necessary. The package was competitive over a single stint and we reached the flag without a single problem."

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Nicolas Minassian , Luc Alphand , Xavier Pompidou , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Stefan Mücke , Jan Charouz , Andrea Belicchi , Michel Barge , Bruno Famin