New dawn sees Peugeot still in the lead

As Sunday morning dawned at the Le Mans 24 Hours, it was still a 1-2 lead for Team Peugeot, the French team's 908 HDi FAP cars holding a solid if not quite comfortable lead. David Brabham in the #9 Peugeot is one lap ahead of the #8 sister car, currently piloted by the polesitter, Stephane Sarrazin.

#9 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908: Alexander Wurz, David Brabham, Marc Gene.
Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt.

The #9 has been running a relatively trouble-free race, having survived the early pit lane crash scare, while the #8 lost several laps to brake repairs overnight. However, the outright speed of the Peugeots has been something that the rival Audi team has struggled -- and failed -- to match for much of the race.

Tom Kristensen in the #1 Audi R15 TDI is two laps behind Brabham and a lap adrift of Sarrazin, and finally lapping similar times to the leading Peugeots. But at this point, with a two-lap deficit, Audi's hopes can only rely on their competitors suffering from more problems.

Behind them, the lead works Aston Martin has taken advantage of the diesel cars' calamities and Tomas Enge holds a comfortable if lonely fourth place in the race: six laps down to the leaders, but three laps ahead of the nearest threat, the #11 Team ORECA of Soheil Ayari.

The fight for fifth place is much closer. The #13 Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola-Aston Martin had taken over fifth, but lost it when Neel Jani spun off in the Esses after the Dunlop Bridge just after 8:30 AM. Charles Zwolsman in the #14 Kolles Audi R10 slipped by into fifth while Jani was recovering, and the Speedy team has been working on catching up to the privateer Lola.

LM P2 continues to be dominated by the two works-supported Porsche RS Spyders, with Team Essex leading the class, Casper Elgaard driving the car in eleventh place overall and 19 laps down on the overall lead. NAVI Team Goh is second, three laps back, and Speedy Racing's P2 entry in third place.

The #63 and #64 Corvettes continue to cruise along atop the LM GT1 class, while the #82 Risi Competizione still leads LM GT2, now with Pierre Kaffer at the wheel. BMS Scuderia Italia is second in GT2, two laps back, and the #76 IMSA Performance Matmut entry is still the best of the Porsche teams.