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Peugeot, Essex, Corvette and Risi win at Le Mans

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Peugeot have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the 3rd time, the first victory with their 908 prototype. The #9 crew of Marc Gene, Alex Wurz and David Brabham took the win by a lap from the sister #8 car of Sebastien Bourdais, Stephane Sarrizan and Franck Montagny. The French marque have finally beaten Audi for the first time after a problematic LM bow for the R15, with all 3 cars spending time in the garage. Last year’s winners, Allan McNish, Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen, ended up 3rd in the #1 car, with the #3 car 18th after its mid-race engine rebuild and the #2 car failing to finish after a crash. The other main contender, the #17 Pescarolo-run Peugeot, went out at about 4 am in a major accident at the Esses before Tertre Rouge. It took time to extract driver Benoit Treluyer from the destroyed car with the race neutralised under the safety cars but fortunately he suffered no major injuries.

In the battle for the unofficial petrol class “victory”, it was Aston Martin Racing’s #007 finished an excellent 4th in the first Le Mans race for the new Lola-Aston with Tomas Enge, Jan Charouz and Stefan Mucke. They finished 3 laps ahead of the lead Oreca, the #11 car of Olivier Panis, Nicolas Lapierre and Soheil Ayari. The next privateer was the #14 Kolles Audi R10 in 7th, a remarkable achievement given they did the whole race with just Charles Zwolsman and Andre Lotterer after Narain Karthikeyan’s pre-race shoulder injury. The 2nd Kolles car, the #15, finished 9th, with the R10s sandwiching the Pescarolo-Judd #16.

The Porsche LMP2 battle raged until near the end of the race, with the #31 Team Essex Spyder leading the #5 of Team Goh. However, it ended when the #5 was involved in a big accident at the Playstation Chicane on the Mulsanne Straight. Driver Seiji Ara walked away unharmed. Thus the win went to the team of Casper Elgaard, Kristian Poulsen and Emmanuel Collard. A sequence of LMP2 retirements allowed the #33 Speedy/Sebah Lola-Judd to take an unchallenged 2nd, with the #24 Pescarolo-Mazda of OAK Racing, with a trio of gentleman drivers aboard, taking a surprise podium place. The only other LMP2 car to finish was the #32 Zytek of Barazi Epsilon.

GT1 became a non-event when the Corvette battle ended with a late mechanical retirement for the leading #64 Corvette. The black car of Marcel Fassler, Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta had wrested the lead from the sister car, the #63, which had led for much of the race, but the #64’s retirement allowed the primrose machine of Johnny O’Connell, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen to take victory, with just 3 finishers out of a field of 6 – the #73 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette and the #66 JetAlliance Aston Martin completing the podium.

The GT2 battle was to be a highlight of the race but in the end, the challenge of the Porsche 911s collapsed with a series of mechanical failures. Last year’s winner, the #82 Ferrari F430 of Risi Competizione driven by Mika Salo, Jaime Melo Jr and Pierre Kaffer, took the win again, the car’s 4th win in the last 4 big endurance races (Le Mans 08, Petit Le Mans 08, Sebring 09 and Le Mans 09). It was a Ferrari 1-2-3-4, with the Scuderia Italia #97 in 2nd, the 2nd Risi car, the #83 in the Krohn livery, 3rd for the second time in 3 years, and 4th going to the JMW #92.

Full Results
1) #9 Peugeot (P1) – Brabham/Gene/Wurz
2) #8 Peugeot (P1) – Bourdais/Montagny/Sarrazin
3) #1 Audi (P1) – Capello/Kristensen/McNish
4) #007 AMR Lola-AM (P1) – Charouz/Enge/Mucke
5) #11 Oreca-AIM (P1) – Panis/Lapierre/Ayari
6) #7 Peugeot (P1) – Klien/Lamy/Minassian
7) #14 Kolles Audi (P1) – Zwolsman/Lotterer/Karthikeyan*
8) #16 Pescarolo-Judd (P1) – Tinseau/Barbosa/Jouanny
9) #15 Kolles Audi (P1) – Albers/Bakkerud/Mondini
10) #31 Essex Porsche (P2) – Elgaard/Poulsen/Collard
11) #12 Signature Courage-Judd (P1) – Ragues/Mailleux/Andre
12) #33 SRTS Lola-Judd (P2) – Kane/Leuenberger/Pompidou
13) #008 AMR Lola-AM (P1) – Davidson/Turner/Verstappen
14) #13 SRTS Lola-AM (P1) – Belicchi/Jani/Prost
15) #63 Corvette (GT1) – Magnussen/O’Connell/Garcia
16) #73 LAA Corvette (GT1) – Clairay/X Maassen/Jousse
17) #3 Audi (P1) – Bernhard/Dumas/Premat
18) #82 Risi Ferrari (GT2) – Melo/Salo/Kaffer
19) #97 Scuderia Italia Ferrari (GT2) – Babini/Malucelli/Ruberti
20) #24 OAK Pescarolo-Mazda (P2) – Nicolet/Hein/Yvon
21) #23 Strakka Ginetta-Zytek (P1) – Hardman/Leventis/Watts
22) #83 Risi Ferrari (GT2) – Krohn/Jonsson/van de Poele
23) #92 JMW Ferrari (GT2) – Bell/Kirkaldy/Sugden
24) #4 Creation-Judd (P1) – Campbell-Walter/Ickx/Iannetta
25) #85 Spyker (GT2) – Bleekemolen/Coronel/Janis
26) #78 AF Corse Ferrari (GT2) – Bruni/Companc/Russo
27) #84 Modena Ferrari (GT2) – Ehret/Mansell/Rusinov
28) #32 Barazi Epsilon Zytek (P2) – Barazi/Moseley/Bennett
29) #99 JMB Ferrari (GT2) – Bouchut/Lebon/Rodrigues
30) #81 Advanced Eng Ferrari (GT2) – Dempsey/Foster/Kitch
31) #66 JetAlliance AM (GT1) – Lichtner-Hoyer/Muller/Gruber
32) #96 Virgo Ferrari (GT2) – M McInerney/S McInerney/Vergers

Not Classified

339 laps – #5 Goh Porsche (P2) – Ara/Kunimoto/S Maassen
311 laps – #64 Corvette (GT1) – Gavin/Beretta/Fassler
273 laps – #25 RML Lola-Mazda (P2) – Erdos/Newton/Dyson
272 laps – #87 Drayson AM (GT2) – Cocker/Drayson/Franchitti
265 laps – #76 IMSA Porsche (GT2) – Pilet/Narac/Long
261 laps – #39 KSM Lola-Mazda (P2) – Noda/de Pourtales/Marsh
252 laps – #009 AMR Lola-AM (P1) – Hall/Kox/Primat
219 laps – #10 Oreca-AIM (P1) – Ortelli/Senna/Monteiro
210 laps – #17 Pescarolo Peugeot (P1) – Boullion/Pagenaud/Treluyer
208 laps – #35 OAK Pescarolo-Mazda (P2) – Lahaye/Ajlani/Moreau
203 laps – #30 Racing Box Lola-Judd (P2) – Biagi/Bobbi/Piccini
194 laps – #80 Flying Lizard Porsche (GT2) – Neiman/Law/Bergmeister
186 laps – #75 Endurance Asia Porsche (GT2) – O’Young/Hesnault/Kralev
183 laps – #89 Farnbacher Ferrari (GT2) – Simonsen/Farnbacher/Montanari
178 laps – #6 LNT Ginetta-Zytek (P1) – Moore/Dean/Tomlinson
104 laps – #2 Audi (P1) – Luhr/Rockenfeller/Werner
102 laps – #41 GAC Zytek (P2) – Ojjeh/Gosselin/Peter
102 laps – #70 IMSA Porsche (GT2) – Felbermayr Jr/Felbermayr Sr/Lecourt
99 laps – #72 LAA Corvette (GT2) – Alphand/Gregoire/Goueslard
91 laps – #26 Bruneau Radical-AER (P2) – Bruneau/Greaves/Rostan
46 laps – #40 Quifel-ASM Ginetta-Zytek (P2) – Amaral/Pla/Smith
24 laps – #77 Felbemayr Porsche (GT2) – Lieb/Lietz/Henzler
1 lap – #68 JLOC Lamborghini (GT1) – Apicella/Yogo/Yamagishi

* – did not race due to pre-race injury

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Written by James Bennett

June 14, 2009 at 16:17

Posted in Sports cars/GTs

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