#3 Peugeot wins bizarre Spa 1000kms

The Peugeot of Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien Bourdais and Pedro Lamy survived a first lap spin, an unprecedented red flag and ensuing confusion, a late-race rain storm and a trip across the gravel in the final hour, to win the most chaotic race in the history of the Le Mans Series at Spa

#3 Peugeot wins bizarre Spa 1000kms

The #3 908 HDi FAP was the frontrunner whose strategy fell into the circumstances with the most fortune, but also put together as faultless a race as was possible in the most challenging of conditions.

"I hope there are not too many races as crazy as this or I won't live for very long!" said Bourdais afterwards.

The #7 Audi, driven by Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello, may have been in control of the race for much of the first two hours - thanks to a well-timed pitstop just as an early safety car emerged from the pits, which gave the car a 50s advantage over the fleet of Peugeots. But after the power cut-induced red flag, it was the #3 car that wrested control of the race.

Capello regained the lead quite quickly after the red flag but was quickly hauled in by Bourdais as the race reached the halfway mark.

The next 30 minutes provided some enthralling racing as the Frenchman diced with the Audi man, briefly passing him at La Source only for the low-downforce R15 TDI to pass him back up the straight.

But when it came time for them both to pit, Capello's need for new tyres cost him the lead and he would never regain it.

Bourdais built a substantial advantage through the rest of his stint and things looked dandy as he handed over to Pagenaud.

A heavy accident for Christopher Nygaard in the GT1 Aston Martin at Blanchimont with 70 minutes of the race to go brought another full-course caution, which allowed the leaders to all pit except for Tom Kristensen, who had taken over from Capello by this point.

When the rain came with 35 minutes left, it looked like things might close up as Kristensen opted to pit for some intermediates and immediately took chunks out of Pagenaud's 70s lead. But while the American Le Mans Series championship leader ran over the grass at La Source he was never really in danger of losing his lead, and as the rain eased again he consolidated to win the race.

In fact it was Kristensen who found himself under attack as the recovering #2 Peugeot of Stephane Sarrazin stormed up behind the Audi and passed it on the pit straight in the final few laps of the race.

That this car finished second was quite remarkable given it was rebuilt following Montagny's accident immediately prior to the power cut. The fact that the car he crashed into, the KSM Lola, was not allowed to be repaired during parc ferme conditions remains a point of contention.

Regardless of the circumstance it was a brilliant drive by Montagny, who did a marathon stint that lastest more than three and a half hours, and Sarrazin, reminiscent of their Road Atlanta victory last year.

Audi therefore was forced to settle for third ahead of the last of the factory Peugeots, which also had a late scare when Marc Gene crashed at Brussels in the rain. The Spaniard recovered in time to save his position from Mike Rockenfeller in the #9 Audi.

Rockenfeller's team-mate Romain Dumas believed this car should have been right in contention, but was one of many to have been caught out by the red flag. He was furious that he been held in the pits for two minutes when he stopped under the safety car when the race resumed.

Miguel Amaral finished sixth overall and first in the LMP2 class after a race-long battle for victory with the RML Lola. The race was secured for the Quifel Ginetta squad when Andy Wallace was forced to wait in the pits during his stop under the final safety car.

The Oak Racing Pescarolos of Guillaume Moreau and Mathieu LaHaye finished third and fourth.

Marc Lieb cruised to victory for Felbermayr Porsche in the GT2 category after his closest contenders all fell foul of penalties. Jamie Melo's Ferrari and the Schnitzer BMW of Jorg Muller both got drivethroughs for excessive use of run-off, and both also were hampered by the red flag confusion.

In the end Melo brought the AF Corse Ferrari home second, though only after an intense dice with his team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella in the closing stages. So heated was it that they allowed Andy Priaulx to catch them right up in the final laps of the race.

The Marc VDS Ford of Dominik Kraihamer, Markus Palttala and Bas Leinders took a one-lap victory in GT1 over the Larbre Competition Saleen.

Steve Zacchia, Wolfgang Kaufmann and Luca Moro won the Formula Le Mans honours.

Pos Drivers Cl Car Time/Gap 1. Lamy/Bourdais/Pagenaud P1 Peugeot 6h00m39.012s 2. Montagny/Sarrazin/Minassian P1 Peugeot + 1m08.308s 3. Capello/Kristensen/Mcnish P1 Audi + 1m26.215s 4. Gene/Wurz/Davidson P1 Peugeot + 1 laps 5. Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller P1 Audi + 2 laps 6. Amaral/Pla P2 Ginetta-Zytek + 9 laps 7. Erdos/Newton/Wallace P2 Lola HPD + 9 laps 8. Moreau/Hein P2 Pescarolo-Judd + 10 laps 9. Lahaye/Nicolet P2 Pescarolo-Judd + 11 laps 10. Geri/Piccini/Piccini P2 Lola-Judd + 11 laps 11. Belicchi/Boullion P1 Lola-Rebellion + 12 laps 12. Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer P1 Audi + 13 laps 13. Ragues/Mailleux/Ickx P1 Lola-Aston + 14 laps 14. Zacchia/Kaufmann/Moro FLM FLM ORECA + 15 laps 15. Lieb/Lietz GT2 Porsche + 15 laps 16. Schell/da Rocha P2 Courage-ORECA + 16 laps 17. Leinders/Palttala/de Doncker GT1 Ford + 16 laps 18. Kraihamer/de Crem/Delhez FLM FLM ORECA + 16 laps 19. Bruni/Melo GT2 Ferrari + 16 laps 20. Alesi/Fisichella/Vilander GT2 Ferrari + 16 laps 21. Priaulx/Muller/Farfus GT2 BMW + 16 laps 22. Pilet/Narac GT2 Porsche + 16 laps 23. Mutsch/Hirschi/Beche GT1 Ford + 16 laps 24. Kirkaldy/Mullen GT2 Ferrari + 17 laps 25. Dumbreck/Coronel GT2 Spyker + 18 laps 26. Ragginger/Ried/Long GT2 Porsche + 18 laps 27. Holzer/Westbrook GT2 Porsche + 18 laps 28. Allemann/Frey/Zimmer GT1 Ford + 18 laps 29. Farnbacher/Simonsen GT2 Ferrari + 18 laps 30. Perez Companc/Russo GT2 Ferrari + 19 laps 31. Gardel/Goueslard/Rees GT1 Saleen + 19 laps 32. Jousse/Gregoire/Hart GT1 Corvette + 19 laps 33. Schroyen/Van Dam/Lacko GT1 Saleen + 19 laps 34. Muller/Werner/Alzen GT2 BMW + 19 laps 35. Van Splunteren/Hommerson/Machiels GT2 Porsche + 20 laps 36. Kutemann/Basso/Hartshorne FLM FLM ORECA + 22 laps 37. Daniels/Slingerland/Lanik GT2 Porsche + 23 laps 38. Ehret/Quaife/Kaffer GT2 Ferrari + 34 laps 39. Frey/Meichtry/Bruneau P2 Radical-Judd + 36 laps Retirements: Bell/Turner GT2 Aston Martin 86 laps Enge/Nygaard/Mucke GT1 Aston Martin 82 laps Noda/de Pourtales/Kennard P2 Lola-Judd 77 laps Leventis/Watts/Kane P2 HPD 69 laps Toulemonde/Zollinger/Zampatti FLM FLM ORECA 67 laps Prost/Jani P1 Lola-Rebellion 65 laps Pillon/Verdonck/Capillaire FLM FLM ORECA 30 laps Barlesi/Cicognani/Chalandon FLM FLM ORECA 23 laps Ojjeh/Greaves/Ebbesvik P2 Ginetta-Zytek 15 laps Panis/Lapierre/Duval P1 Peugeot 4 laps 
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