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LE MANS NEWS Bourdais clinches pole for Peugeot

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LE MANS NEWS

Bourdais clinches pole for Peugeot

By Steven English Thursday, June 10th 2010, 22:12 GMT

Peugeot 908, Le Mans 2010Peugeot hammered home its advantage over Audi in final qualifying for this weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours by cementing its sweep of the first two rows of the grid in final qualifying.

Le Mans born Sebastien Bourdais was the man to clinch pole position, with his 3m19.711s effort on Wednesday proving good enough to grasp the top spot.

Stephane Sarrazin, who had taken the last three consecutive 24 Hours poles, was denied the opportunity to extend his streak when the final stint in the #2 car was given to Nicolas Minassian.

Audi had closed the gap to the Peugeots, with first Allan McNish moving into the 3m22s and then Mike Rockenfeller launching one into the 3m21s - less than eight tenths slower than the fourth-placed ORECA Peugeot.

But just as Audi's hopes of challenging Peugeot's dominant pace gathered steam, the French marque sent its cars out for one last crushing run.

None of the four cars improved their times over the benchmarks they set on Wednesday, but Bourdais, Minassian and Nicolas Lapierre shared purple sectors lap after lap to underline the cushion they have enjoyed over Audi since rolling the 908s off the trucks.

"It was a really, really strong effort," said Bourdais. "Everyone is really happy with the performance of the car and how comfortable it is to drive it. I am very proud to put the #3 car on pole, but this is only the start.

"Obviously we are happy that they [Audi] didn't put on a great show, or display a great amount of speed, but honestly we just focused on our own things - to make our car the fastest one and to be in a good position for the race. Then the tough job is still ahead of us, so we're not going to get carried away. We will just stay smart and be conservative when we have to.

"I'm impressed with the margin of progress we displayed [over last year]. The way the car drives now compared to last year is very much appreaciated. I couldn't really throw it all before, but now I really feel like I can."

Danny Watts and Strakka Racing took the LMP2 class lead back from Highcroft in the battle of the HPDs. David Brabham had swept ahead in this evening's earlier qualifying segment, but Watts countered early on tonight with an effort another 1.5s quicker.

Tomas Enge's best lap from Wednesday proved enough to hold on to the GT1 top spot. Bas Leinders had moved the #70 Marc VDS Ford GT into second earlier this evening and tonight Romain Grosjean took his Matech-run Ford into third.

Olivier Beretta and Antonio Garcia vaulted the two works Corvettes ahead of the remaining AF Corse Ferrari to second and third in GT2. But Gianmaria Bruni's Wednesday effort in the #82 Risi Competizione Ferrari stood unbeaten at the head of the class.

There were fewer incidents in the final two hours of qualifying as teams closed in on their final race preparations. Though the Dunlop chicane still claimed a hat-trick of victoms after some drizzle mid-way through the session - the #88 Felbermayr Porsche, Bryce Miller in the JMW Aston Martin and Jean Alesi in the AF Corse Ferrari all had a spin on the approach.

The #24 Oak Racing Pescarolo stopped on the track between the Esses and Tertre Rouge, and Oliver Jarvis had to limp back to the pits in the #15 Kolles Audi R10 after its left rear tyre disintegrated.

Pos Drivers Cls Car Time Gap
1. Lamy/Bourdais/Pagenaud P1 Peugeot 908 3:19.711
2. Wurz/Davidson/Gene P1 Peugeot 908 3:20.317 +0.606
3. Montagny/Sarrazin/Minassian P1 Peugeot 908 3:20.325 +0.614
4. Panis/Lapierre/Duval P1 ORECA Peugeot 908 3:21.192 +1.481
5. Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller P1 Audi R15 3:21.981 +3.867
6. Kristensen/McNish/Capello P1 Audi R15 3:22.176 +2.465
7. Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer P1 Audi R15 3:23.605 +3.894
8. Mucke/Fernandez/Primat P1 Lola-Aston Martin 3:26.680 +6.969
9. Turner/Hancock/Barazi P1 Lola-Aston Martin 3:26.747 +7.036
10. Ayari/Andre/Meyrick P1 ORECA 01-AIM 3:29.506 +9.795
11. Mailleux/Ragues/Ickx P1 Signature Aston 3:29.774 +10.063
12. Bouchut/Tucker/Rodrigues P1 Kolles Audi R10 3:30.907 +11.196
13. Jarvis/Albers/Bakkerud P1 Kolles Audi R10 3:31.661 +11.950
14. Pirro/Cocker/Drayson P1 Drayson Lola 3:31.862 +12.151
15. Watts/Kane/Leventis P2 Strakka HPD ARX-01 3:33.079 +13.368
16. Jani/Andretti/Prost P1 Rebellion Lola 3:33.490 +13.779
17. Brabham/Franchitti/Werner P2 Highcroft HPD 3:34.537 +14.826
18. Mansell/Mansell/Mansell P1 Beechdean Ginetta 3:36.897 +17.186
19. Belicchi/Boullion/Smith P1 Rebellion Lola 3:37.093 +17.382
20. Erdos/Newton/Wallace P2 RML Lola HPD 3:39.648 +19.937
21. Hughes/Amaral/Pla P2 ASM Ginetta-Zytek 3:40.532 +20.821
22. Moreau/Charouz/Lahaye P2 Oak Pescarolo 3:41.310 +21.599
23. Lewis/Burgess/Willman P1 Autocon Lola-AER 3:43.167 +23.456
24. Pirri/Cioci/Perrazzini P2 Racing Box Lola 3:47.971 +28.260
25. Greaves/Ojjeh/Chalandon P2 Bruichladdich 3:51.189 +31.478
26. Noda/Pourtales/Kennard P2 KSM Lola-Judd 3:51.310 +31.599
27. Hein/Nicolet/Yvon P2 Oak Pescarolo 3:52.008 +32.297
28. Schell/da Rocha/Zollinger P2 Pegasus Norma 3:52.837 +33.126
29. Salini/Salini/Gommendy P2 WR/Salini WR 3:53.109 +33.398
30. Rostan/Meichtry/Bruneau P2 Race Perf Radical 3:53.942 +34.231
31. Enge/Nygaard/Kox GT1 YD Aston 3:55.025 +35.314
32. Leinders/Palttala/de Doncker GT1 Marc VDS Ford GT 3:55.356 +35.645
33. Grosjean/Mutsch/Hirschi GT1 Matech Ford GT 3:55.583 +35.872
34. Jousse/Gouselard/Massen GT1 Alphand Corvette 3:58.810 +39.099
35. Policand/Gregoire/Hart GT1 Alphand Corvette 3:58.906 +39.195
36. Bruni/Melo/Kaffer GT2 Risi Ferrari 3:59.233 +39.522
37. Gavin/Beretta/Collard GT2 Corvette 3:59.435 +39.724
38. O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia GT2 Corvette 3:59.793 +40.082
39. Alesi/Fisichella/Vilander GT2 AF Corse Ferrari 3:59.837 +40.126
40. Allemann/Gachnang/Frey GT1 Matech Ford GT 4:01.628 +41.917
41. Lieb/Lietz/Henzler GT2 Felbermayr Porsche 4:01.640 +41.929
42. Pilet/Narac/Long GT2 IMSA Porsche 4:01.755 +42.044
43. Farfus/J Muller/Alzen GT2 BMW M3 4:01.893 +42.182
44. Westbrook/Scheider/Holzer GT2 BMS Porsche 4:02.014 +42.303
45. Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen GT2 Hankook Ferrari 4:02.427 +42.716
46. Bergmeister/Law/Neiman GT2 Fl. Lizard Porsche 4:02.685 +42.974
47. Gardel/Berville/Canal GT1 Larbre Saleen 4:03.175 +43.464
48. Priaulx/D Muller/Werner GT2 BMW M3 4:03.215 +43.504
49. Krohn/Jonsson/van de Poele GT2 Risi Ferrari 4:03.959 +44.248
50. Coronel/Dumbreck/Bleekemolen GT2 Spyker 4:04.057 +44.346
51. Bell/Sugden/Miller GT2 JMW Aston Martin 4:04.303 +44.592
52. Yogo/Iiri/Yamanishi GT1 JLOC Lamborghini 4:05.170 +45.459
53. v.Splunteren/Hommerson/MachielGT2 Prospeed Porsche 4:10.017 +50.306
54. Felbermayr/Felbermayr/Konopka GT2 Felbermayr Porsche 4:10.054 +50.343
55. Goossens/Dalziel/Gentilozzi GT2 Jaguar XKR 4m12.431 +52.720
56. Salo/Russo/Companc GT2 AF Corse Ferrari withdrawn
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 07:39 AM
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Bourdais and Pagenaud are great drivers, and the Peugot is strong. I wouldn't bet against them this year.

Just heard they are eliminating the GT1 class, as ALMS has. There's a lot of action in GT2, for sure. I'd like to see Mercedes develop a C class for GT2; BMW is starting to see some success over here with the Rahal team.
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24 Hours of Le Mans results

Peugeot dominates at 24 Hours of Le Mans (but doesn't win)- Motor sports- nbcsports.msnbc.com

The Associated Press
updated 11:37 p.m. PT, Sat., June 12, 2010

LE MANS, France - Audi grabbed a commanding lead at the 24 Hours of Le Mans after taking advantage of rival Peugeot's reliability concerns.

The German manufacturer had two cars in front early Sunday. German driver Timo Bernhard was ahead of the R15 TDI driven by Marcel Fassler after 17 hours of racing.

Peugeot, considered a huge favorite after securing the four top spots on the starting grid, clearly had the fastest cars but ran into problems.

The leading number 2 Peugeot 908 HDI driven by Stephane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny and Nicolas Minassian retired at dawn with a turbo failure, and Peugeot's only remaining hopes of victory were in the hands of Anthony Davidson, Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz.

After building a two lap-lead with his teammates, Montagny was forced to pull to the side of the track and retire after smoke and flames poured from his car following a pit stop.

"We are really disappointed. We were controlling the pace, but it's Le Mans," Montagny Sarrazin said. "We don't know exactly what the problem was, but it is the engine. It was sudden, there was no warning."

Peugeot problems started quickly as former Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, who had started from the pole, retired because of suspension damage after less than three hours Saturday.

The Peugeot of Gene, Wurz and Davidson then had to pit for 12 minutes with electric problems and subsequently dropped from first to seventh place.

The three drivers, however, started a phenomenal comeback and moved back to third, two laps behind the leaders, with Gene and Davidson alternatively improving the best time.

Peugeot ended Audi's five-year domination at Le Mans last year when it claimed its first win since 1993.

Audi suffered a serious setback during the fifth hour when Tom Kristensen went off while trying to pass a BMW driven by Andy Priaulx.

Kristensen, the most successful driver at Le Mans with eight wins, slid off into the gravel and hit the barriers. He returned to the pits. The car continued the race but lost three laps to the race leaders. Kristensen, Allan McNish and Dindo Capello were fourth after 17 hours, two laps back.

Just 18 minutes into the race, former Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell crashed.

Mansell spun in his Ginetta-Zytek and hit the security barrier before the Indianapolis turn. He spent several minutes in his car but was conscious when he was evacuated and in an ambulance. Organizers later said he was in a good condition.

Mansell was taken to the circuit's medical center and escaped "with a bump on the head," according to organizers.

The 56-year-old British driver was racing for the first time at Le Mans, with his sons Greg and Leo. Mansell won the F1 title in 1992.

"He's having some extra checks. He took a bit of a knock but he should be fine," Greg Mansell told Eurosport.

Peugeot took an early lead with its cars holding onto the four top positions before the safety cars entered. The race was neutralized for about half an hour, then Montagny moved into first place in the Peugeot 908 HDI when Pedro Lamy pitted for the first time in his Peugeot.

Peugeot's hopes of a clean sweep were dashed when Lamy had to retire because of suspension damage after less than three hours of racing.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

URL: Peugeot dominates at 24 Hours of Le Mans - Motor sports- nbcsports.msnbc.com
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2010 Le Mans 24-hour race results

2010 Le Mans 24-hour race results
Glory for Aston and Andy Wallace, disappointment for Peugeot, Aston and Nigel Mansell
By Stephen Dobie
14th June 2010
2010 Le Mans 24 hours

The 2010 Le Mans 24-hour race turned out to be something of a cracker. 56 cars started and 28 finished, with all four cars from the favourite to win, Peugeot, absent come the chequered flag after an abundance of problems. That was great news for Audi, though, who reclaimed the Le Mans title with a crushing one-two-three finish. The victorious R15 TDI polished off 397 laps – a new record – its quickest a 3min22.3sec.

Leading the LMP2 class was Strakka Racing’s HPD ARX.01, which finished fifth overall, 30 laps off the pace of the lead Audi and its best lap 11sec slower. Andy Wallace’s LMP2 Lola placed eighth overall, 3rd in class, nine laps behind the Strakka.

The GT1 class was won by a thunderous Saleen S7R, which proved to be tremendously reliable and which shook the pitlane on each of its 331 passes with the loudest noise on the grid. Four laps behind was Jerome Policand’s Corvette C6.R, the only other GT1 finisher after both Matech Ford GTs slipped out of the running alongside another C6.R and – of perhaps greater sadness – the Murcielago entered by the Japanese Lamborghini Owners Club. It hit problems but soldiered on through them all, at times over 150 laps off the pace, before retiring on Sunday. Not before passing the halfway mark and lighting up the wee small hours with spouts of flame on the overrun, though…

Leader of the GT2 class was Marc Lieb’s Porsche 997 GT3 RSR, one of five 911s to finish from six that entered. Two Corvettes had provided a strong fight for class honours before dropping out, while other casualties included Jaguar’s return to Le Mans, the XKR RSR, and the BMW M3 GT2 Art Car driven by Brit Andy Priaulx. Giancarlo Fisichella also drove in this class, piloting a fourth-in-class and 16th-overall Ferrrari F430.

Until the Peugeots hit problems, diesels were dominating proceedings once again, their exit allowing a petrol car – the Oreca of Team Oreca Matmut – to finish fourth. Aston’s 009 LMP1 Lola had clutched onto fourth place until less than an hour from the end, the car of Juan Barazi, Sam Hancock and Darren Turner succumbing to sad and unfortunate engine woes right at the death.

Nigel Mansell’s Le Mans debut ended far sooner, though, the Beechdean Mansell Ginetta-Zytek due to be piloted by he and his sons knocked out after four laps, a slow puncture the apparent cause of an accident that saw Nigel dramatically lifted from the car, but with no injuries to report.
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