The Race Begins To Take Shape
The overall standings change in line with the various pit stops, with the Peugeot no.7 spending brief periods in the lead. The gaps are tiny and every minor detail can have a major impact on the race positions. Six hours into the race, the top five cars are all still on the same lap.
Conditions: Overcast, dry track, 17℃ at 18:00 – Clear skies, 16℃ at 21:00
The race gradually takes shape, the leaderboard changing each time the leading cars come into the pits, with the Peugeot 908s managing to stay out for an extra lap per stint than their rivals. As a result, each pit stop results in the lead changing hands between the Peugeot no.7 and the Audi no.2. Anthony Davidson (no.7) and Simon Pagenaud (no.9) both complete a triple stint, while Stéphane Sarrazin is the first of the leaders to complete a quadruple stint on the same set of tyres.
Simon Pagenaud strayed slightly from Team Peugeot Total’s race plan as he slightly overran the car at 18:53, but the incident had no impact, other than the loss of a few seconds. This allowed Stéphane Sarrazin to close the gap to the Peugeot no.9, who then went on to overtake his team-mate at 19:43, to move into third position. Anthony Davidson (no.7), Pedro Lamy (no.9) and Nicolas Minassian (no.8) continue in the cars as dusk falls.
There is a long way to go in the race and the gaps are small.
Alexander Wurz (Peugeot no.7): “My first stint was difficult. The track was really greasy, so I decided to conserve my tyres. I then picked up the pace, but our car wasn’t easy to drive in these conditions.”
Stéphane Sarrazin (Peugeot no.8): “We lost some time after our brake distribution system problem. Now we’re moving again, but it’s not easy because our rivals are quick. I did a quadruple stint on the same tyres and the car was stable and consistent throughout. There is a long way to go in the race and the gaps are small.”
Simon Pagenaud (Peugeot no.9): “This is a tricky part of the race, because the sun is setting and that can make visibility poor. I gave myself a fright when braking, I locked up the rear wheels and overran the car at the corner. You have to watch out in the traffic and get the balance right between taking risks and losing time when you are overtaking a slower car. This is going to be a very long race…”