THRILLING SPANISH RACE SEES PEUGEOT TAKE SECOND VICTORY Peugeot raced to its second victory of the 2007 season when Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin recorded a three lap win, but it was the battle for second position that brought the crowd to...
THRILLING SPANISH RACE SEES PEUGEOT TAKE SECOND VICTORY
Peugeot raced to its second victory of the 2007 season when Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin recorded a three lap win, but it was the battle for second position that brought the crowd to its feet.
The Rollcentre Racing Judd-powered Pescarolo ran in second place for much of the final hour but an incident with a back marker dropped it to third, and a collapsed suspension just nine laps from the end ended their chances of scoring a podium position.
There was a memorabe performances from series newcomers Arena Motorsport which ran in third place until mid-distance before a broken throttle cable brought the Zytek into the pits.
Two teams new to the Le Mans Series finished on the podium. Charouz Racing took second place with their Lola Judd, and Swiss Spirit ?? nished third in their Audi-powered Lola.
In the "LM" P2 and "LM" GT2 classes there was drama in the closing stages. A puncture for the Bruichladdich Radical after contact with a back marker dropped it from second in the "LM" P2 class to third, while in the "LM" GT2 class Raymond Narac led comfortably before he was pushed off the track and crashed. Rob Bell, in the Virgo Motorsport Ferrari, hounded the Team Felbermayr Proton Porsche of Marc Lieb to the fiag.
Stephane Sarrazin snatched the lead from Nicolas Minassian as soon as the lights turned to green, and led his team-mate through the traffic in a perfect display of endurance race driving.
In the fifth hour a crucial decision on whether or not to change tyres allowed the number 7 Peugeot to get ahead for the first time. A stop and go penalty put the number 8 back in front but Minassian re-took the lead on his fresher tyres before his clutch failed.
Joao Barbosa and Stuart Hall had driven an exemplary race in the Rollcentre Pescarolo having lost time when they pitted shortly before the only safety car period of the race at mid-distance.
Barbosa went off the track to avoid a backmarker, handing second to Stefan Mucke, but fought back and the two went wheel to wheel on the high speed approach to the first corner. "He was defending his position, but maybe just a little too much,"said Barbosa. For Charouz, it was their first podium.
Mucke, Alex Yoong and Jan Charouz finished three laps behind the Peugeot and a lap ahead of the Swiss Spirit Racing Audi-powered Lola. Jean-Denis Deletraz fiew from Silverstone to bring the car home in the third podium position.
The two Pescarolo Judds finished fifth and sixth. Harold Primat struggled to get away from the grid as his car refused to start, though he was able to join the queue before the lights turned to green. The sister car of Romain Dumas was also in trouble early in the second hour when it suffered a split fuel injector pipe and a puncture following a collision with another competitor.
The Quifel ASM Team took victory at Valencia, but even the team was surprised with the result after several incidents. "It was a tough race, and there were plenty of incidents," said Amaral, whose spin led to the only safety car period of the race. "We kept our car running at a pace and due to the lack of luck of our competitors, we managed to win."
The Portuguese team finished two laps clear of the Saulnier Racing Courage which looked on course to take third position before a slow puncture dropped the Bruichladdich Radical to third. Robin Liddell was given the task of chasing the leading Lola for the lead, but a collision with a back marker caused a slow puncture. "I was going for it, and set the fastest lap the car had gone all race," said Liddell. "I was alongside the Panoz but I don't think he saw me and we had contact, causing a puncture."
The RML team led before an alternator failure led to a stop to change the battery, and a problem with the rear diffuser and a misfire towards the end dropped the car to sixth in class at the chequer fiag. The Horag Lista Lola Judd was also competitive before an engine failure in the fifth hour.
The AMR Larbre Aston Martin of Christophe Bouchut, Gabriele Gardel and Fabrizio Gollin ran with a new air conditioning unit for the first time in preparation for Le Mans next month. "We started the weekend with a few problems, but we achieved our goal which was to finish the race," said Gardel.
The Team Modena Aston Martin was driven by Antonio Garcia and Christian Fittipaldi, but their goal of finishing on the podium was spoiled when the battery drained of power. The team made ten pit stops in total for a combination of regular pit stops and changing the batteries, and they were classified fifth in class behind the Luc Alphand Aventures C6.R of Jerome Policand, Patrice Goueslard and Luc Alphand, who survived a trip into the gravel on the 94th lap.
The battle for GT2 raged between Porsche and Ferrari but it was Marc Lieb and Xavier Pompidou who recorded the first international victory for the Porsche 997 model. Lieb drove the majority of the race and was behind the wheel when Rob Bell in the Virgo Motorsport Ferrari challenged throughout the final half hour of the race.
"There was some close racing and it was a great fight between Porsche and Ferrari," said double drivers' champion Lieb. "We were lucky that the IMSA car went out, I hope that he is OK, and we were able to score the first victory for the 997." Richard Lietz and Raymond Narac, driving the IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche, led the category, but Narac was the victim of some aggressive driving and was pushed off the circuit, crashing out of the race after a competitive drive.
Behind, the battle raged between the Team Felbermayr Proton Porsche, the Virgo Motorsport and Scuderia Villorba Ferraris and the Farnbacher Porsche of Dirk Werner, Pierre Ehret and Lars Eric Nielsen.