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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Peugeot sweep Nurburgring front row

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