Nurburgring: Peugeot race report

PEUGEOT NOTCHES UP A ONE-TWO IN GERMANY Two months after the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours, Team Peugeot Total was eager to pull off a win in Germany where its two 908 HDi FAPs both qualified on the front row of the grid for today's race. The two crews...


Two months after the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours, Team Peugeot Total was eager to pull off a win in Germany where its two 908 HDi FAPs both qualified on the front row of the grid for today's race. The two crews produced a perfect team effort to provide the French carmaker with its first one-two finish of the season, just as they had done at the Nurburgring this time last year. The result also hands Peugeot and its crews the provisional lead in both championships.

The start of the fourth round of the 2008 Le Mans Series, which drew a crowd of 22,000 spectators, saw the two 908 HDi FAPs pull away at a pace that enabled them to pull gradually clear of their pursuers. At the wheel of the No.7 car, Nicolas Minassian emerged as the early leader and he even succeeded in posting the fastest race lap in the opening stages, with Stephane Sarrazin shadowing his team-mate in the No.8 car. Half an hour into the race, the latter profited from the heavy traffic to pass his team-mate and take control, but the lead switched back into the hands of the No.7 machine shortly after the first round of pit-stops. Other than the obligation to keep their duel perfectly sportsmanlike, the Peugeot drivers were under no team orders and they proceeded to thrill the crowd with an exciting battle. Their speed even allowed them to lap their main championship rivals at around the race's halfway mark which still saw heavy traffic on the track. Indeed, it was traffic that caused Marc Gene to loose more than 20 seconds in the No.7908 HDi FAP as he tried to find a way past the Lola Aston Martin for a full five laps. His car was also slightly delayed during a pit-stop because of a faulty starter button and Pedro Lamy, who had just taken over in the No.8 Peugeot, found himself in front. With the gap stabilized at around the 23/30 seconds mark, Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin the reigning Le Mans Series champions were able to go on to pick up their second success of the season, making it two wins apiece for each of the Peugeot Sport crews!

Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene crossed the line in second place 16.161s behind their team- mates to hand Peugeot its first one-two finish of the year and enable the French carmaker to move to the top of the provisional standings, six points clear of Audi. In the Drivers' table, Minassian/Gene (No.7 Peugeot HDi FAP) now lead, two points ahead of Premat/Rockenfeller (No.2 Audi).

Michel Barge: "I love Germany, and I love the Nurburgring! It was here in 2007 that we picked up our first one-two of the season and we've gone and done the same again this time round. Today's result is a fantastic reward for the whole team; they're all delighted. After finishing second and third at Le Mans, it was important for Peugeot to win this weekend and take the lead in both the Manufacturers' and Drivers' championships. The title will finally be decided at Silverstone. We preferred to let our crews fight it out between themselves here because it was too early to start thinking in terms of strategy for the Drivers' title. We took our decision out of respect for our drivers, who all put in great performances again despite the traffic, as well as for sporting reasons. We didn't want to influence the outcome. This is a great result not only for our brand but also for the PSA Group which scored two one-two finishes in Germany today, with Citroen taking first and second in the country's round of the WRC."

Bruno Famin: "Our race-plan went perfectly. We stayed with our incisive strategy of starting strongly in order to pull out a gap and we lapped our closest rivals at the halfway point so as not to lose the benefit of our hard work should the safety car come out. The aerodynamic set-up of the 2008 'sprint'- spec 908 proved very competitive."

Pedro Lamy: "I am proud of our performance for Peugeot today. It was very important to get both cars to the finish with a view to scoring championship points. And after June's Le Mans 24 Hours, it was also important for Stephane and me to get back onto the podium. There's nothing like winning! I am really delighted with this result because there were no team orders, which goes to show what a sporting team Peugeot is."

Stephane Sarrazin: "It's a fantastic result for us and for the whole team. Our car was perfectly balanced and the mechanics did a terrific job which enabled us to claim our second win of year following our victory at Monza. We had a good fight with the No.7 car and there was never much in it, so nobody could afford to make a mistake."

Marc Gene: "We lost a lot of time in the traffic, especially behind the Lola Aston Martin. That cost us the lead, and we then dropped a further 30 seconds to the No.8 car when we had a small problem with the starter, probably because of a loose connection in the button."

Nicolas Minassian: "Today's result is very positive for us in terms of the Drivers championship. It was nice to start from pole-position and we also posted the fastest race lap. The title decision will now go down to the wire at Silverstone, which is a circuit I love."

-credit: peugeot

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Michel Barge , Bruno Famin
Teams Citroën World Rally Team