Wurz takes lead after Peugeot's second stumble

Wurz takes lead after Peugeot's second stumble

It's still a Peugeot 908 HDi FAP in the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours, but it's now the ...

It's still a Peugeot 908 HDi FAP in the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours, but it's now the #9 with Alexander Wurz at the wheel. Wurz had been just under a lap adrift of the leader, Sebastien Bourdais in the #8 sister Peugeot when the powerful French team encountered trouble for the second time today.

#9 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908: Alexander Wurz, David Brabham, Marc Gene.
Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt.

Bourdais cruised slowly into the pits in his 908, and the mechanics swiftly swivelled the car around and backed it into the garage. The engine cover came off, and while a team member furiously scrubbed and double-scrubbed the windshield and headlights, a team of mechanics began to disassemble the rear of the car.

The team removed, rebuilt and replaced the left-rear suspension for the 908, all in less than 10 minutes. A remarkable achievement, but losing that much time still dropped the #8 down to sixth place, behind not only its sister car, but also the top two Audis, the #008 Aston Martin and the #17 Pescarolo Peugeot -- which had been involved in the first Peugeot crisis, when it came together with the #7 in the pit lane.

The two Audis, #1 with Rinaldo Capello handing over to Tom Kristensen for the Dane's first stint, and #2 with Lucas Luhr, are running within 30 seconds of each other, at 45 seconds and 1:15 adrift of the leading Peugeot, respectively.

"We made some changes in the front end and it's now better," Capello explained. "It's still not as good as we would like, but at least now we can set some decent times."

The #3 car, though, with Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Alexandre Premat, is still parked in the Audi garage with a team of Audi mechanics working on an undisclosed problems. At this point it's over 20 laps behind the leading Peugeot, and surely out of contention.

In the LM P2 class, Porsche works driver Emmanuel Collard has taken over the Team Essex Porsche and has begun to make some inroads into the lead that NAVI Team Goh's young gun, Keisuke Kunimoto, had built up during the previous stint. The two Porsches are two laps ahead of the third-placed Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola-Judd, with Jonny Kane at the wheel.

Corvette Racing's Jan Magnussen in the #63 Corvette C6.R holds the lead in LM GT1 by some two minutes over his teammate, Oliver Gavin in the #64, as the two Corvettes ended up being held behind different safety cars during the second safety car period. The two Luc Alphand Corvettes, with Luc Alphand and Yan Clairay piloting them, are two laps behind the lead works Corvette.

Over in the heavily-contested LM GT2, Mika Salo has been doing yeoman duty in the Risi Ferrari F430 with a long stint, and has taken over the class lead. With AF Corse and JMW Motorsport running second and third in class, Ferrari is now holding a sweep of the top three class positions; the top Porsche is that of IMSA Performance Matmut, in fourth place in class.

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Jan Magnussen , Marc Gene , Alexander Wurz , Mika Salo , Emmanuel Collard , Lucas Luhr , Oliver Gavin , Sébastien Bourdais , Timo Bernhard , Jonny Kane , Luc Alphand , Romain Dumas , Keisuke Kunimoto
Teams AF Corse , Corvette Racing , IMSA Performance Matmut , JMW Motorsport