Peugeot dominate at Nurburgring

Peugeot were in a league of their own at the Nurburgring 1000km this weekend, scoring their first one-two of the year and finishing well clear of their Audi rivals

Peugeot dominate at Nurburgring

Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy won the race in the No.8 908 HDi, holding an advantage of between 20 and 30 seconds over Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene in the sister car for the majority of the trouble-free, six-hour race for the French marque.

"The Nurburgring has always been a good track for me and now I have another win here," said Lamy. "First and second is great for Peugeot and it was an open fight so it's very nice to win like that."

Minassian led from pole position in the early stages in the No.7 car, but the two 908s were never far apart in the first hour of the race. Sarrazin briefly took the lead after the first round of pit stops but Minassian moved back ahead and it wasn't until two hours into the race that the No.8 car established itself at the front.

By that time, both Peugeots were nearly a lap ahead of the Audis, who simply didn't have the pace to compete. Both R10s picked their way past the Lola Aston Martin early in the race, but could only race each other for the final podium spot.

The No.2 Audi of Alexandre Premat and Mike Rockenfeller was tied with the No.7 Peugeot at the top of the championship prior to this race and minimised the points loss by completing the podium in third place.

"We are fighting closely with the No1 Audi so we know we are at a good level," said Premat. "But unfortunately, the Audi is not at the same level as the Peugeot.

"We will keep fighting for the championship for as long as we can win it, but it is going to be difficult."

The sister Audi of Allan McNish and Dindo Capello was hindered by a minor brake problem in the early stages, but clawed its way back into third after the final pit stops. It eventually finished fourth, though, when a last-minute pit stop handed the final podium back to the No.2 car and left it just two points behind the No.7 Peugeot going into the finale at Silverstone.

The Lola Aston Martin of Stefan Mucke and Jan Charouz was the best of the rest all day long, and even ran as high as third at the start of the race. It had a late drama with a puncture in the final hour, but finished fourth, five laps adrift of the diesel-powered cars ahead.

The Lola Aston claimed the unofficial petrol class honours, over a lap clear of the No.5 Courage-Oreca of Soheil Ayari and Loic Duval. The other car that was in the running was the No.16 Pescarolo of Jean-Christophe Boullion and Emmanuel Collard, but they had to retire with suspension damage following a spin caused by a puncture.

The Van Merksteijn Motorsport Porsche RS Spyder took an utterly dominant LMP2 class victory with Jos Verstappen and Jeroen Bleekemolen four laps ahead of their nearest class rivals at the end.

Their nearest challenger for the first two hours was the Team Essex Porsche, but that fell two laps behind when Casper Elgaard spun into the gravel and had to pit for repairs.

The Saulnier Pescarolo of Pierre Ragues and Matthieu Lahaye finished second in class, three laps down, while the Essex Porsche recovered to third.

There was even less of a fight for the honours in the GT1 class with only one car completing anywhere near the race distance. Antonio Garcia and Tomas Enge were unchallenged in their Aston Martin as both Luc Alphand Chevrolet Corvettes ran into problems in the early stages.

The No.72 Corvette of Guillaume Moreau, Alphand, and Patrice Gouselard dropped 30 laps off the pace when it stopped out on circuit after a fuel leak, while the No.73 car crept back to retire in the pits after a collision.

The Virgo Motorsport Ferrari bounced back from a fire yesterday to win the GT2 class today. The car had to be rebuilt after the Saturday morning practice session but was ready in time to start the race from the back today, and Gianmaria Bruni and Rob Bell charged through the field to victory.

They finished a full two laps clear of the battle between the Porsches behind, which was won by the Felbermayr car of Marc Lieb and Alex Davison, nearly a lap ahead of Richard Lietz and Raymond Narac in the IMSA car.

 Pos Driver Car Gap Class 1. Lamy/Sarrazin Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP 195 laps LMP1 2. Gene/Minassian Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP +16.161 LMP1 3. Premat/Rockenfeller Audi R10 TDI +1 lap LMP1 4. Capello/McNish Audi R10 TDI +28.889 LMP1 5. Mucke/Charouz Lola Aston Martin +6 laps LMP1 6. Ortelli/Ayari Courage-Oreca Judd +7 laps LMP1 7. Bleekemolen/Verstappen Porsche RS Spyder +18.330 LMP2 8. Campbell-Walter/Hall Creation CA07 - Aim +8 laps LMP1 9. Ragues/Lahaye Pescarolo Judd +11 laps LMP2 10. Elgaard/Nielsen Porsche RS Spyder +22.160 LMP2 11. Manning/Foster WF01 Zytek +12 laps LMP2 12. Amaral/Pla Lola B05/40 AER +13 laps LMP2 13. Erdos/Newton Lola MG +14 laps LMP2 14. Kane/Hughes WF01 Zytek +15 laps LMP2 15. Barazi/Vergers/Rees Zytek 07S Zytek +56.339 LMP2 16. Belicchi/Pompidou Lola B08/80 Coupe Judd +16 laps LMP2 17. Ojjeh/Gosselin Zytek 07S Zytek +4.442 LMP2 18. Primat/Tinseau Pescarolo Judd +19 laps LMP1 19. Barbosa/Ickx/Short Pescarolo Judd +20 laps LMP1 20. Garcia/Enge Aston Martin DBR9 +23 laps GT1 21. de Pourtales/Noda Lola B05/40 Mazda +14.931 LMP2 22. Simpson/Halliday Creation CA07 - Aim +1:00.316 LMP1 23. Lienhard/Theys/Lammers Porsche RS Spyder +25 laps LMP2 24. Bell/Bruni Ferrari F430 GT +26 laps GT2 25. Lieb/Davison Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +28 laps GT2 26. Narac/Lietz Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +2:30.796 GT2 27. Aucott/Daoudi Ferrari F430 GT +29 laps GT2 28. Dumbreck/Kelleners Spyker C8 Laviolette +30 laps GT2 29. Balandras/Lecourt/Belloc Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +31 laps GT2 30. Nicolet/Hein Pescarolo Judd +5.409 LMP1 31. Kutemann/Basso/Scheier Ferrari F430 GT +32 laps GT2 32. Daniels/Paltalla/Sugden Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +33 laps GT2 33. Burgueno/de Castro Epsilon Euskadi Judd +35 laps LMP1 34. Rostan/Peterson/Lueders Radical SR9 AER +36 laps LMP2 35. Ried/Felbyrmayr/Felbyrmayr Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +38 laps GT2 36. Ehret/Kaffer/Beltoise Ferrari F430 GT +39 laps GT2 37. Alphand/Moreau/Gouselard Corvette C6.R +55 laps GT1 38. Rusinov/Kox Lamborghini Murcielago +64 laps GT1 39. Salini/Salini/Roussel WR Zytek +69 laps LMP2 40. Lavaggi/Kaufmann Lavaggi AER +85 laps LMP1 41. Nielsen/Westbrook/Simonsen Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +94 laps GT2 Not classified Panis/Lapierre Courage-Oreca Judd 167 laps LMP1 Nakano/Valles Epsilon Euskadi Judd 163 laps LMP1 Chiesa/Leuenberger Spyker C8 Laviolette 145 laps GT2 Collard/Boullion Pescarolo Judd 97 laps LMP1 Beretta/Policand Corvette C6.R 50 laps GT1 
Peugeot sweep Nurburgring front row

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