VICTORY AT LAST FOR GENE AND MINASSIAN Since their victory in the opening race of the season at Monza, it seemed as though a spell had been cast over Marc Gene/Nicolas Minassian and their N7 908 HDi FAP. The tables have turned at last, however,...
VICTORY AT LAST FOR GENE AND MINASSIAN
Since their victory in the opening race of the season at Monza, it seemed as though a spell had been cast over Marc Gene/Nicolas Minassian and their N7 908 HDi FAP. The tables have turned at last, however, and they were back on the winning trail this weekend thanks to a trouble-free run at Silverstone which included another superb qualifying performance from Nicolas Minassian who took pole-position on Saturday.
The race nearly got off to a bad start for Marc Gene whose 908 HDi FAP slid wide onto the grass during the formation lap when the Spaniard was caught out by cold tyres. Happily, Marc managed to regain control of his car at the last moment and he eventually got away cleanly to head the sister 908 HDi FAP driven by Stephane Sarrazin, the Charouz Racing Lola and the LNT Zytech. The Safety Car was sent out for six laps on Lap 12 when advertising hoardings were blown onto the track by strong winds. On Lap 112, Pedro Lamy was forced to pit after picking up a rear-left puncture which dropped him to fifth place, while Lap 133 saw the Safety Car come out again for another five laps following an accident. After his car's forced pit stop, Stephane Sarrazin re-joined in fourth place and immediately fought hard to climb back up the order with the aim of retrieving second place. With 28 laps remaining, Pedro Lamy took over the N8 908 HDi FAP again to continue the crew's fight-back. Lapping between three and four seconds faster than the Charouz Racing Lola and Emmanuel Collard's Pescarolo, the Portuguese driver homed in on the two cars, drawing level with them with 13 laps remaining before passing them in quick succession shortly afterwards. But there was more drama to come when the stewards called Pedro into the pits to replace his car's rear wing which had suffered damage as a result of his earlier puncture.
Unfortunately, with just three laps to go, the mechanics didn't have sufficient time to complete the work and the car was forced to retire.
Nicolas Minassian: "It's been a fantastic weekend for us and we followed up our performance in qualifying with victory today. It turned out to be a trouble-free run for Marc and me and we were able to lift towards the end to control our cushion from in front. Today's result is proof of all the work the team has accomplished since Spa to make the car reliable."
Marc Gene: "Anything can happen in motor racing and that's what makes it so exciting. Our car was easy to drive today and our Michelin were consistent and didn't go off at all. I had a bit of a scare during the formation lap when I went off onto the grass and nearly spun. I'm now looking forward to Brazil and the last race of the season which I would love to win with Nicolas."
Michel Barge, Peugeot Sport Director: "The European phase of the 2007 LMS campaign has been extremely positive for Peugeot with a score of five wins from five races. The title still isn't in the bag and I can confirm that we will have both cars in Brazil for the final round of the Le Mans Series. My only regret this weekend is that our second car wasn't stopped earlier. Stephane and Pedro took risks for nothing as they carved their way brilliantly back up the field."
Fastest race lap: Gene/Minassian (1m 34.935s)