Peugeot running away after the four-hour mark

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Peugeot running away after the four-hour mark

After four hours of racing at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, the Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs are flexing their muscles and pulling away from their rivals, including the Audi R15 TDIs. Polesitter Stephane Sarrazin in the ...

After four hours of racing at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, the Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs are flexing their muscles and pulling away from their rivals, including the Audi R15 TDIs. Polesitter Stephane Sarrazin in the #8 Peugeot now has a one-lap lead over David Brabham the team's #9 sister car, which in turn is almost a minute ahead of the leading Audi.

#8 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908: St?phane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny, S?bastien Bourdais.
Photo by Tom Haapanen.

As the evening sets in, Sarrazin's fastest race lap so far is a 3:25.106, a second faster than anyone bar the #9 Peugeot -- and that car is now seven laps adrift after a pitlane collision with the Pescarolo Peugeot in the first hour of the race. Not only that, but Sarrazin is continuing to lap at a faster pace than the other front-runners.

Rinaldo Capello was about 30 seconds behind Brabham as the fourth hour drew to a close, but the Audi team decided to change the nose on the #1 Audi, as they had done earlier on the other two R15s. The "new" noses, with some undisclosed aerodynamic adjustments, appear to have been the right choice, as Capello is now making up ground on Brabham.

Behind Capello, Marco Werner is following in the #2 Audi, some 20 seconds behind, and roughly matching Capello's pace.

The works Aston Martins, ledt by Jan Charouz in the #007, hold down fifth and sixth places. Behind them are two recovering front-runners: Simon Pagenaud, whose #17 was involved in the intra-Peugeot pitlane incident in the first hour, and Timo Bernhard, whose #3 Audi lost two laps in the opening moments of the race after an early spin by Alexander Premat.

In the LM P2 class, the two Porsche RS Spyders are literally in a class of their own: the Team Essex and NAVI Team Goh entries may only be separated by about 30 seconds, but they are two laps ahead of their nearest P2 challengers.

The GT1 class is fairly predictable, with the pair of works Chevrolet Corvettes a lap ahead of the Luc Alphand privateer Corvettes. Antonio Garcia in the #63 is in the class lead, with Marcel Fassler in the #64 in second.

With the Felbermayr-Proton Porsche retired (see separate story), the leading contenders in the LM GT2 class are now IMSA Racing Matmut, Risi Competizione and Flying Lizard Motorsport. The IMSA #76 is holding a slim lead over the Lizards.

The #82 Risi Ferrari some 40 seconds behind the two Porsches, but is pending an additional pit stop as Mika Salo has been penalized for repeatedly crossing the white lines.

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Series LEMANS