Although not a 1-2, Peugeot did win again in Silverstone, which begs the question….
Sébastien Bourdais and Simon Pagenaud put together everything at Silverstone that they couldn’t at Le Mans—performance, consistency and reliability—to guide their Peugeot 908 no.7 to victory in the 6 Hours after yet another sensationally fast race. This third race win of the season for Team Peugeot Total, combined with the eighth place claimed by Franck Montagny and Stéphane Sarrazin (Peugeot no.8) takes Peugeot one step closer to a second consecutive Manufacturers’ title.
From the first lap on the spectators at the fifth round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) witnessed fascinating duels between the diesel sports cars from Audi and Peugeot. It took Allan McNish in the Audi R18 TDI number 2 only eight laps to grab the lead from the Peugeot driven by Bourdais, who had started from pole. In the “sister car” Timo Bernhard was putting pressure on Franck Montagny in the second Peugeot before the Frenchman touched another vehicle and spun off the track. He had to come into the pits for 9 laps to change the upper front left wishbone and the splitter. From that point, Montagny and Sarrazin’s race turned into a long fight to make up ground, which eventually saw them finish eighth.
McNish and Bourdais at the front of the field overtook each other several times. Shortly before the end of the first hour the number 2 car lost any chance for victory when the Audi driver was hit by a GT vehicle. Replacing the front left suspension cost six laps and caused the car to drop to the rear of the field. Although the steering wheel was no longer perfectly straight after the repair McNish and Tom Kristensen managed to recover to position seven. That the opponent in the accident had to sit a longer stop-and-go penalty was only little consolation to the two.
All the hopes of Audi Sport Team Joest then rested on Bernhard and Marcel Fässler in the #1 Audi R18 TDI that was fighting a thrilling duel for the lead with the second Peugeot. A particularly impressive performance was delivered by Fässler, who in the third hour made up a gap of over 30 seconds to Pagenaud in the Peugeot, overtook the Frenchman and moved to the front of the field. After the driver change Bernhard defended the lead despite the fact that the rear of the Audi R18 TDI had previously been damaged during slight body contact between Fässler and a slower prototype resulting in a loss of downforce on the rear axle.
More serious though was the fact that in the incident the right taillight of the R18 TDI had come off. The regulations required Audi Sport Team Joest to change the rear bodywork of the car at the next pit stop. Although this was done in record time the time loss of more than a minute was crucial for the outcome of the race. At the finish Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fässler were 89 seconds short of clinching victory.
Bourdais and Pagenaud only pitted to change tyres and fill up with fuel. Bourdais, credited with the fastest race lap, and Pagenaud adopted a consistent pace and pursued an effective strategy to the end, managing to avoid any pitfalls. Pagenaud finished off the job perfectly to give the Peugeot 908 its third race win of the season, after Spa-Francorchamps and Imola. The end of the Peugeot no.8’s race also went very well. Stéphane Sarrazin and Montagny took it in turns to maintain a good pace, enabling them to get back up to 8th place overall, which earned Peugeot some important points for the Manufacturers’ standings. “This the second race win in which I have been involved this season, after the win in Imola,” said Bourdais. “We had a great race, but it was difficult and very hotly contested. We had to really go for it! We didn’t make the slightest error, whereas our rivals made a mistake. It’s a team win, because we have all worked together for this. I pushed when I needed to push, and Simon did his job superbly.”
“It’s a perfect weekend for Peugeot and us, with a pole position and a race win,” said Pagenaud. “We have met all our goals. A few days ago, I wasn’t sure if I would be racing here or not, so it’s special feeling, especially as I hadn’t raced at this track before. I spare a thought for Anthony Davidson (out with a broken collarbone), because this is his race. He has been here all weekend to offer me advice. This win is down to the entire team and all of our partners. The drivers are the last link in the chain, we have to finish off the job, which is what we have done today.”
“After the incident at the start, we pushed hard to make up ground and rack up as many points as possible,” said Sarrazin. “Once again, the Peugeot 908 has shown what a competitive car it is. Peugeot has won, simply by being quicker, so the overall result is positive.”
“It’s a great win,” said Olivier Quesnel, Peugeot Sport Director. “Once again, both our cars made it to the finish and we scored two more points than our main rival. I note that Peugeot won at Sebring then at Spa-Francorchamps, finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, achieved a one-two at Imola and then also won here, at Silverstone. We need to finish well at Road Atlanta and then at Zhuhai, but this has been a great season with a new car which has finished every race since its competitive debut.”
“The opposition was intense at the start of the race, but we were expecting that,” said Peugeot Sport’s Technical Director Bruno Famin. “The racing incidents were significant, which is not surprising when the battle is so intense. This win owes a lot to the work done in private testing this summer, especially the work we did with Michelin. Apart from the warm-up, we have topped all three practice sessions this weekend. We had a very competitive car, of which our drivers have made very good use. The race was close, there was little to choose between the leading cars. We have extended our lead in the championship, so we have achieved our goal.”
“Peugeot has won, and that’s the important thing to remember,” said Montagny. “The clash that I had with a Formula Le Mans could have had more serious consequences, but the team managed to repair the damage very quickly. We then pushed to make up ground, whilst maintaining a good pace.”
The Audi team, so successful against the worst possible odds a Le Mans, was not so pleased as their rivals were after Silverstone. “I’m pretty disappointed,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport. “We had the performance today to win the race. The cars were quick and the team did a perfect job. We didn’t do anything wrong but were simply unfortunate – and not just once but twice. We lost so much time in the process that it was no longer possible to win the race.”
“It was a great race,” said Marcel Fässler, driver of Audi R18 TDI number 1. “We pushed. Based on our pace we could have really been in contention for victory. The car was really good today. So it’s a real shame that I had two collisions in which the car was damaged. We simply lost too much time due to the repair.”
“I think we showed a nice race,” said an upbeat Timo Bernhard, also of Audi number 1. “Second place is good – but we had the potential for more. The performance was good enough for victory because we were battling for the lead across long stretches of the race. It wasn’t meant to be. We lost time in traffic as a result of me going into a spin once, Marcel (Fässer) had a collision that required a repair due to the regulations. Too bad, but I think we can still be satisfied. We delivered a good show today. And, most importantly, the team did a tremendous job of pulling together.”
“A really great race with four cars battling for every centimeter,” said Tom Kristensen of Audi number 2. “Especially the early phase was tricky and when the #8 Peugeot got entangled in a collision things were looking very good for us. But then Allan (McNish) unfortunately had the issue and had to pit to have the front left suspension changed. The mechanics did a fantastic job in the pits repairing the damage. From then on we were six laps down trying to get home and helping our ‘sister’ car in any way we could. I feel very sorry that we weren’t all the way in front particularly for our crew. But you can be sure that next time, at Road Atlanta, we will battle for the big cigar again.”
“It’s a frustrating result considering our performance over the weekend,” said Allan McNish, also of Audi number 2. “We had a good car in qualifying and a very good car at the beginning of the race. I had a fantastic battle with Sébastien Bourdais. Once I came a bit too close to the pit wall when I overtook him into turn 1. But I have to say it was a clean and fair fight. Unfortunately it ended too early when a Ferrari had taken a rather strange ‘line,’ damaging my left front suspension. That basically ended our race and also his as he was given a one-minute stop-and-go penalty. That put us down six laps and it was a recovery drive from then on. We learned a lot more here about the R18 TDI for Petit Le Mans and China but were taken out of the battle to win.”
“That was a real shame!” concluded Ralf Jüttner, Technical Director of Audi Sport Team Joest. “We had the pace today. It would have been a nice battle through to the end. In the final analysis, we were lacking exactly the time we lost due to the repair. Collisions are simply inevitable in dense traffic in such a large field. The rules now require this kind of damage to be repaired. We tried to minimize the time loss. That also worked out because we did the driver and tire changes at the same time. But it still took more than a minute and that could simply not be made up. The other car showed a great recovery to position seven. Allan (McNish) and Tom (Kristensen) were very quick too but once you’ve lost six laps you’re no longer in contention. If you want to win against such strong competition you simply can’t afford anything. Nevertheless: I really want to thank the team. They did a superb job. The pit stops were a bit faster than those of Peugeot. Now we’re going to strike at Atlanta!”
1 Bourdais/Pagenaud (Peugeot) 190 laps in in 6h 00m 13.255s
2 Bernhard/Fässler (Audi R18 TDI) + 1m 29.763s
3 Nicolet/Prémat/Pla (Oak-Pescarolo-Judd) – 5 laps
4 Belicchi/Boullion (Lola-Toyota) – 5 laps
5 Lahaye/Moreau/Ragues (Oak-Pescarolo-Judd) – 5 laps
6 Collard/Tinseau/Jousse (Pescarolo-Judd) – 5 laps
7 Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18 TDI) – 6 laps
8 Montagny/Sarrazin (Peugeot) – 9 laps
9 Fernandez/Primat/Klien (Lola-Aston Martin) – 11 laps
10 Ojjeh/Lombard/Kimber-Smith (Zytek-Nissan) – 12 laps
ILMC LMP1 manufacturers standings after 5 of 7 rounds:
1 Peugeot 153 points; 2 Audi, 108.
ILMC LMP1 team standings after 5 of 7 rounds:
1 Peugeot Sport Total, 81 points; 2 Audi Sport Team Joest, 74; 3 Team Oreca Matmut, 34; 4 Rebellion Racing, 33; 5 Oak Racing, 16; 6 Aston Martin Racing, 4.
Fans will not have to wait long for the next race of the fascinating sports prototypes: The penultimate round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup that will become the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2012 will be held at Road Atlanta (U.S. state of Georgia) on October 1. There will be three Peugeot taking part in this sixth and penultimate round of the ILMC. The two factory Peugeot 908 driver pairings will be made up of: No.7: Anthony Davidson – Sébastien Bourdais – Simon Pagenaud, No.8: Franck Montagny – Stéphane Sarrazin – Alexander Wurz. The Team Oreca Matmut’s Peugeot 908 HDi FAP will welcome two factory drivers, Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene, in addition to Nicolas Lapierre, the usual driver.
Peugeot and Audi rejoin the battle at Silverstone
Peugeot won the last time out at Spa, but….
The 6-hour race at Silverstone (Great Britain) marks the beginning of the final sprint for Audi in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), the racing series that will become the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2012. Peugeot will be without the driving services of Anthony Davidson, The British driver broke his left collarbone after he was involved in an accident whilst training on his road bike. While his recovery has been fast, it isn’t complete enough to allow him to race in the best conditions for this weekend . “Of course I can only be disappointed as it is my home race,” said Davidson. “It is a difficult decision to make but it is a wise one. Now I get more time to recover properly and I can prepare the end of the season in a better way.”
“Anthony has recovered almost 100%”, adds Pascal Dimitri, Peugeot Sport Team Manager. “However, we do not want to risk anything for him, as he needs to recover all his sensations, and for Peugeot in its chase for the ILMC title. We need him to race in Petit Le Mans which is coming right after Silverstone.”
Davidson will be live on the Peugeot Web TV set to comment on the race, analyse and help understanding the race behind the scenes of the Team Peugeot Total. The WebTV coverage will start on Sunday 11th September from 10H35am (UK time) for a race start at 11H35 (UK time).
Simon Pagenaud and Sébastien Bourdais will be lining-up to drive the Peugeot 908 N°7. There will be no changes to the car N°8 ran by the duo Franck Montagny and Stéphane Sarrazin.
…Audi won the big one at Le Mans
Audi Sport Team Joest is again fielding two Audi R18 TDI’s, driven by Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fässler (car #1) and Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish (car #2). The Silver team has fond memories of Silverstone. In 2008 Audi Sport Team Joest triumphed at the last European run of the Audi R10 TDI, winning the champion’s title in the LMS in the process. At the ILMC’s debut last year two Audi R15 TDI cars were on the front row of the grid.
Given that the most recent event, the 6-hour race at Imola, did not go according to plans for Audi Sport Team Joest, with Bernhard/Fässler and Kristensen/McNish taking third and fourth place, there is only one aim for Silverstone: victory. Since the event at Imola further work on fine-tuning the setup of the Audi R18 TDI has been done in track tests. In addition, it should be easier for the sports prototype powered by an innovative V6 TDI engine to bring its strengths to bear on the British Grand Prix circuit. “The Intercontinental Le Mans Cup is now in the decisive half of the season,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport. “After the disappointing result at Imola we want to be at the very front again at Silverstone. By winning Le Mans we showed the performances that are possible with the R18 TDI. Silverstone should be a race track on which we can convert this potential into a good result.”
“We’re running at the ‘home of British motor racing’ at the traditional Silverstone circuit,” said Ralf Jüttner, Technical Director of Audi Sport Team Joest). “This is also Allan’s home race. The event is always well attended. Silverstone is a tradition-steeped race track even though it has changed. But many key places like Becketts or Maggotts have remained unchanged and these are world famous corners just like Eau Rouge at Spa. The drivers are looking forward to them. In the championship, unfortunately, things are not looking so good for us. But we want to take revenge for Imola and win. We’re competing with the same driver pairings as we did at Imola. Tom and Allan know each other really well and Timo and Marcel have gelled with each other too. I’m sure it’ll be a nice race.”
With respect to its driver line-up Audi is optimally set for Silverstone. McNish has already won the race three times (in 2004, 2005 and 2008), took the pole position last year and regards Silverstone as his home track. Le Mans record winner Kristensen won there in Formula 3000 and in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). “Finally I’m back in an Audi R18 TDI after a long summer break!” said Kristensen. “We were struck by misfortune last year and I didn’t even get to drive at Silverstone. Now we want to show that we’re in contention for victory. Traveling to the UK is like returning to the roots of motorsport. And the fans are particularly enthusiastic there. In addition, many Brits are great sports car fans. I’m sure they were pleased to hear this summer that there will be a world champion’s title for sports cars next year. The circuit has been changed significantly in the course of the years. There are many nice corners even though my favorite one, Bridge, is unfortunately no longer used. But with respect to safety, the run-off areas and the view for the spectators, the operators have done a really great job.”
“When I drove at Silverstone for the first time in 1987 the circuit consisted of only five corners, now there are 15,” said McNish. “The speeds were extremely high back then. Today there is a balance between fast and very slow corners. The makes the set-up more difficult as well as the driving because as a racer you get used to a rhythm. Like at all GP tracks there are large run-off areas. One of the key places is Becketts. It consists of a sequence of increasingly narrow but very fast bends. There good opportunities for overtaking on the Hangar straight. The same goes for Stowe and the new slow section since 2010. It’s easy to make driving mistakes there. The track is still as challenging today as it was back then, but for totally different reasons.”
Bernhard and Fässler, who have been forming a driver pairing since Imola, have been on the podium at Silverstone as well. “We’re running on a tradition-steeped circuit with a proud sports car history,” said Bernhard. “There are slow, medium fast and some nice fast corners. I really like this circuit so I’m especially eager to go there. The fast Maggotts and Copse sections are particularly exciting to drive in a sports car like the Audi R18 TDI because you reach speeds of over 200 km/h there. That’s huge fun, but also a big challenge. As the circuit is a bit longer than Imola driving in traffic should be a little easier. After the pole position at Spa, our leading position during parts of the race at Le Mans and our initially promising place at Imola it’s time for victory now.”
“I last raced at Silverstone in 2009 so I don’t know the new track layout yet,” said Fässler . “I’m particularly looking forward to the fast combinations of corners: Becketts and Hangar will no doubt be huge fun in the Audi R18 TDI. As the track is wider we’ll have more opportunities for overtaking than we last did at Imola. There are several long straights which make lapping easier because our own speed is clearly higher. We should never forget the weather. There’s always a possibility for rain at Silverstone. I’ve really gelled well with my new team-mate Timo Bernhard. We both know what counts and have no problem agreeing on a common vehicle set-up. After taking third place at the last event, I’d like to move forward a bit more now.”
“Naturally we want to score many points for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at Silverstone,” said McNish. “The battle between Audi and Peugeot has always been very close. Sometimes our rivals were better in qualifying and we won the race and sometimes it was the other way around. I’m sure that Silverstone will again be a classic. We already raced on the new circuit last year but this year we’re using different pit facilities. There are two crucial places on the circuit, a very fast and a slow one: the high-speed sections Copse and Becketts down toward Stowe. Becketts is arguably one of the nicest spots for the fans. And there’s Club Corner and the new infield section which are very slow and demand a totally different driving style and a different set-up.”
The Silverstone 6 Hours will start on Sunday, September 11, at 11:35 a.m., local time. Audi.tv will air a full-length broadcast of the race live on the internet at http://microsites.audi.com/lemans/.
All winners of the 1000-kilometer race at Silverstone (since 2004)
2004 Pierre Kaffer/Allan McNish (Audi R8)
2005 Allan McNish/Stéphane Ortelli (Audi R8)
2007 Marc Gené/Nicolas Minassian (Peugeot)
2008 Dindo Capello/Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI)
2009 Nicolas Lapierre/Oliver Panis (Oreca-AIM)
2010 Nicolas Minassian/Anthony Davidson (Peugeot)
Track length: 5.891 km
Duration of race: 6 hours
Pole position 2010: Allan McNish (Audi R15 TDI), 1m 43.475s = 204.954 km/h (Sep 11, 2010)
Fastest lap 2010: Nicolas Lapierre/Stéphane Sarrazin (Peugeot), 1m 44.338s = 203.259 km/h (Sep 12, 2010)
ILMC LMP1 manufacturers standings after 4 of 7 rounds:
1 Peugeot 132 points; 2 Audi, 89.
ILMC LMP1 team standings after 4 of 7 rounds:
1 Peugeot Sport Total, 65 points; 2 Audi Sport Team Joest, 61; 3 Team Oreca Matmut, 34; 4 Rebellion Racing, 33; 5 Oak Racing, 5.
Friday, September 9
13:15-14:15 Free practice 1
17:00-18:00 Free practice 2
Saturday, September 10
09:00-10:00 Free practice 3
13:35-13:55 Qualifying (GT vehicles)
14:05-14:25 Qualifying (prototypes)
Sunday, September 11