Tuesday, May 11, 2010
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The 1,000 km endurance race at Spa-Francorchamps over the weekend is the most important warm up for teams preparing for Le Mans (12-13 June), with front runners Audi and Peugeot both calling the event a “full dress rehearsal”. If so, the Germans might not want to follow the script for the main showdown, as their French rivals stormed to a one-two finish at Spa.
The trio of Sébastien Bourdais, Pedro Lamy and Simon Pagenaud topped the podium ahead of teammates Franck Montagny and Stéphane Sarrazin in the sister 908 HDi FAP. Audi’s Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish was third. The No.1 Peugeot of Anthony Davidson, Marc Gene, Alex Wurz came home fourth, ahead of Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller in their Audi R15 Plus. The Spa victory capped a great run up for Team Peugeot, as it was their fourth straight one-two finish.
The weekend got off to a great start for Peugeot with Bourdais putting the No.3 908 on pole. But on race day, first corner drama saw teammate Lamy drop down to ninth. The race was then interrupted by a number of safety car interventions, and the ensuing chaos saw Audi take the lead. When the race resumed, Peugeot upped its pace and chased down the lead Audi, only for the race to be interrupted again when an electricity power-cut affected the region and forced organisers to suspend the race.
With power restored, the race got underway again and the Peugeot drivers resumed their chase. Sébastien Bourdais, then had a good fight with Capello before taking the lead on Lap 71. The ex-F1 driver then handed over to Simon Pagenaud who defended his advantage despite a rain shower an hour before the finish. He took the risk of staying out on medium-compound tyres while the Audis opted for intermediates. The gamble paid off, and the No3 car went on to win by more than a minute. Peugeot has now gone unbeaten at Spa since 2007.
Sarrazin also stayed out on slicks in the No.2 Peugeot, although he did eventually switch to softer tyres, passing the Audi just two laps from the end. The No.1 could have made it a clean sweep for Peugeot but for an off track excursion by Marc Gené 30 minutes from the end of the race.
Posted by mohammad adam Shafian at 1:24 PM