Nurburgring: Michelin race report

RICH PICKINGS FOR MICHELIN AT THE NURBURGRING The fourth and penultimate round of the 2008 Le Mans Series at the Nurburgring was won by Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin in the No.8 Peugeot-Michelin. The Franco-Portuguese pair was joined on...

RICH PICKINGS FOR MICHELIN AT THE NURBURGRING

The fourth and penultimate round of the 2008 Le Mans Series at the Nurburgring was won by Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin in the No.8 Peugeot-Michelin. The Franco-Portuguese pair was joined on the all-Michelin podium by team-mates Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene in the No.7 sister car, while Audi ended its home race with a top-three finish thanks to the No.2 Audi R10 of Mike Rockenfeller and Alexandre Premat.

Today's result takes the score ofPeugeot and Michelin in this year's LMS to four wins from four starts.

In addition to finishing seventh overall, Jos Verstappen and Jeroen Bleekemolen secured another success for the Porsche RS Spyder in LMP2, with the Saulnier Racing Pescarolo finishing on the podium ahead of the Team Essex RS Spyder.

GT1 honours went to the Team Modena Aston Martin shared by Garcia Antonio Enge Thomas, with the Corvette C6R of Alphand/Moreau/Goueslard following them across the line to clinch points for Alphand Aventures.

The Michelin-shod No.77 Felbermayr Proton Porsche 911 of Lieb/Davison took second spot in the GT2 category ahead of the No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut car of Lietz/Narac.

Matthieu Bonardel (Four-wheel Competition Manager, Michelin):

"As expected, the track was tough on tyres to begin with when the track temperature was around the 30o.C mark. It then started to get cooler for the second half of the race and there was more grip available.

"As far as the strategies were concerned, the combination of this circuit's specific characteristics and the high temperatures meant that double-stinting didn't pay early on . But as the temperature started to come down, and as more rubber was laid onto the track, we started to see some cars begin to double-stint, while others preferred to switch to a softer compound.

"There was a wide variety of tyre choices among both the petrol and diesel LMP1 cars, and there were even differences within the same team. Both the soft and medium options worked and held up well over a full stint. There was perhaps three-tenths of a second in it between the two, although the medium compound - which was the slightly slower of the two - gave better balance, which made the car easier to drive.

"The new 'extra -soft'LMP2 tyre was selected by certain teams - notably Ambassy - and they were able to double stint. Most of our partners switched from soft to medium as a function of how the track evolved. They started on softs because of qualifying, then went on to mediums, before finally switching back to softs for the end of the race.

"The GT1 teams gradually changed from softs to the medium-hard alternative and back to softs again for the same reasons. The GT1 cars weren't able to double -stint on this track given today's temperatures.

"Finally, in GT2, we had a new, commercially-available tyre for this race and it proved quicker than the conventional soft tyre. This solution has enabled us to bridge some of the gap but not yet enough to be able to catch the category'sleader."

Bruno Famin (Technical Director, Peugeot):

"Our strategy today was particularly aggressive because we wanted to pull out a gap as quickly as possible to give ourselves a little breathing space. We opted for single stints in order to make the most of the potential of our tyres. We used practically all the products Michelin brought for us this weekend and that tactic paid off handsomely. Our two cars didn't run identical options, but both choices turned out to produce top results because there wasn't all that much between them at the finish. We managed to produce a nicely balanced package which meant that our cars functioned extremely well on their tyres from start to finish. I would like to thank Michelin for their contribution to our success, and in particular that of Fabrice Vouilloux who is the technician delegated to work with us. His advice is always first class."

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Pedro Lamy , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Bruno Famin
Teams IMSA Performance Matmut