Peugeot leads 1000km at halfway
|By Simon Strang||Sunday, September 12th 2010, 14:07 GMT|
Peugeot's Nicolas Minassian led the AUTOSPORT 1000km at Silverstone at half distance, having maintained a 20-30s gap over the privately-run Oreca 908 HDi FAP since the opening hour of the race.
Minassian, who took over from Anthony Davidson after an impressive double-stint from the Englishman, lost quite a bit of time to Nicolas Lapierre initially before establishing a rhythm of his own. He has since remained comfortably in control of the since.
The demise of the #7 Allan McNish/Tom Kristensen Audi ensured that Stephane Sarrazin was crowned the Le Mans Series drivers' champion mid-race, and it remained unclear whether the #4 Peugeot would be allowed to race the factory car for the win to the end of the race.
The remaining R15 TDI Plus, with Rinaldo Capello at the wheel, maintained third position 40s behind the two French cars and a lap ahead of the #009 Aston Martin - which with Sam Hancock driving, has run faultlessly from the start.
The Neel Jani/Nicolas Prost Rebellion Lola withstood an assault from it's sister car at Luffield in the third hour, as Jean-Christophe Boullion put in a stirling effort to take fifth position during a fantastic scrap.
He didn't manage it however and was instead warned for his driving tactics, and shortly afterwards the car was pitted with technical issues and lost seven laps being repaired.
Frank Mailleux's Signature Aston Martin was sixth, having benefitted from the #13 Rebellion Lola's dramas, and also the misfortune of Johnny Mowlem who was punted off in the LNT Ginetta during the second hour of the race - another to lose seven laps in recovery.
LMP2 has not been without its drama either. Nick Leventis's Acura was collided with by the Spyker GT2 car at Brooklands - costing Strakka the lead of the class.
To his credit though, Leventis fought his way back up to third, and stayed on the lead lap behind class leader Miguel Amaral in the Quifel Ginetta and Richard Hein in the Oak Racing Pescarolo.
The JMW Aston Martin team remained in the lead of GT2 having performed perfectly from the start. Darren Turner, who took over from early leader Rob Bell, held a slender lead from Jaime Melo in the AF Corse Ferrari and Richard Westbrook in the ProSpeed Porsche.
Early leader in the GT2 class Toni Vilander dropped out of contention when the Ferrari he shares with Jean Alesi and Giancarlo Fisichella pitted with technical problems.