AFTER 18 HOURS EARLY MORNING TUSSLE
The three Peugeot 908s and the Audi R18 fight it out to claim the fastest race lap early on Sunday morning. The Peugeots pushed hard, but another two safety car periods make it even more difficult to predict the outcome. With three cars still lapping within a few seconds of each other, with just six hours of racing left, it looks like we are in for an incredible and open end to the race.
The 16th hour of racing begins with a fourth safety car period. The Peugeot no.7 and no.9 adapt their strategies accordingly, coming into the pits early for their 17th stop. When the race resumes at 06:29, Sébastien Bourdais (no.9) passes Marc Gené to take the lead. The three Peugeot 908s lap very close together for an entire stint and then complete a perfectly synchronise pit stop at 07:04, all three cars coming in at the same time. The leading drivers continue to constantly swap places and a fifth safety car period at 7:37, makes things even more complicated. When the race resumes again at 08:05, Simon Pagenaud leads, ahead of his rival Tréluyer (no.2) and the other two Peugeots. The scrap between the four cars is superb, at an incredible level of intensity. At 08:30, the Audi retakes the lead, but Pagenaud, Wurz and Sarrazin stay in touch.
I have never seen such a close 24-hour race. I really don’t know how it will end!
Olivier Quesnel, Peugeot Sport Director: “The staggered refuelling pit stops mean that the lead changes hands often. We’re pushing hard - we have no option but to do so. We have dropped our strategy, which involved saving fuel. Now we must attack. This race that will go down in the history books.”
Marc Gené (Peugeot no.7): “We were out of diesel, so we had no choice really, we had to pit during the safety car period. I have never seen such a close 24-hour race. I really don’t know how it will end!”
Sébastien Bourdais (Peugeot no.9): “It’s a war, with three versus one. There is no question about what we need to do, but we mustn’t take any unnecessary risks. It’s been like a sprint since midnight. We are better than them on fuel economy, and that might make all the difference.”