TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL STILL ON TOP The strong run of the No8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP came to halt when the Sarrazin/Montagny/Bourdais car was forced to pit for a disc bell problem which has dropped it to sixth place with a quarter of the race completed...
TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL STILL ON TOP
The strong run of the No8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP came to halt when the Sarrazin/Montagny/Bourdais car was forced to pit for a disc bell problem which has dropped it to sixth place with a quarter of the race completed Its place at the top of the order has been snapped up by the No9 sister car (Gene/Wurz/Brabham) which is more than 40 seconds clear of the best-placed non-Peugeot runner. The No7 car (Minassian/Lamy/Klien) has carved its way back to 17th. (Conditions: dry, warm and bright but a little cloudy, then sunnier.28 C 27 C)
Pit stops and incidents:
No7 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP (Nicolas Minassian / Pedro Lamy / Christian Klien): 18.20: pit-stop (fuel and tyres). Driver change: Klien takes over from Minassian. 19.05: pit-stop (fuel). 19.40: pit-stop (fuel and tyres). Driver change: Lamy takes over from Klien. 20.31: pit-stop (fuel)
No8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP (Stephane Sarrazin / Franck Montagny / Sebastien Bourdais): 18.05: pit-stop (fuel and tyres). Driver change: Sarrazin takes over from Montagny 18:49: pit-stop (fuel) 19:32: pit-stop (fuel) 19.40: pit-stop (fuel and tyres). Driver change: Bourdais takes over from Sarrazin. 20.34: pit-stop (fuel) 22:46: pit-stop (fuel, tyres and repairs).9m 26s spent in pits. Rejoins at 20:55.
No9 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP (Marc Gene / Alexander Wurz / David Brabham): 18.05: pit-stop (fuel and tyres). Driver change: Brabham takes over from Gene 18:48: pit-stop (fuel) 19:31: pit-stop (fuel) 19:40: pit-stop (fuel and tyres). Driver change: Wurz takes over from Brabham 20.30: pit-stop (fuel)
Shortly after the 3-hour mark, Montagny hands over No8 car to Sarrazin after driving since starting from pole position at 3pm. During his remarkable stint, the Frenchman completed 50 laps and built up a lead of 2 minutes over the No9 car, extending his advantage over the best-placed non-Peugeot to almost 3 minutes!
Shortly before 7.30pm, the No8 car passes the 1,000km mark with Sarrazin at the wheel, making the leading car's average speed since the start approximately 225kph. The No9 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP continues to tail its sister car in second place with Brabham at the helm. Meanwhile, the No7 car (now with Klien in control) makes regular progress to recover a place in the top-20 after falling back to 51st overall shortly after the start.
Soon afterwards, at 7.40pm, the safety cars are sent out again, and the team quickly revises its strategy and all three Peugeots see a driver change. When the safety car goes back in, it leaves No8 car (now with Bourdais onboard) a full lap clear of the No9 (Wurz).
Shortly before quarter distance, however, the No8 car makes an unscheduled stop for a rear-left disc bell problem (centring studs). No9 inherits the lead, while the early pace-setter spends 9o mins in pits and falls to sixth.
Franck Montagny (No8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP): "I kicked off the race with a quadruple stint, which means I was in the car for a little more than three hours. That's a long time, not to mention the long, anxious minutes during the build-up to the start! It was a close-run thing at the start with McNish. I even think he crossed the line before me. The track was dirty to begin with and it wasn't easy. The safety car enabled us to pull a minute clear and, after that, I pushed as hard as I could to try to gain another minute. I'm exhausted."
David Brabham (No9 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP): "I tried to keep it as consistent as possible, and I took it especially cautiously through the traffic. Our car is running fine, and I had no real issues. It would have been nice to carry on a bit longer but the tactical thing has to be done. If that means handing over to someone else, you hand over to someone else."
Bruno Famin (Technical Director, Peugeot Sport): "The No8 car had a problem with the rear-left disc bell, but Sebastien was able to make it back to the pits. Everything is OK now. Despite the traffic, the No9 car is putting in a good, consistent run."