Petit Le Mans

Road Atlanta, USA

PEUGEOT MADE IT THREE WINS FROM three in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at Road Atlanta in October. Franck Montagny, Stéphane Sarrazin and Alex Wurz sealed a series hat-trick for the French manufacturer’s second-generation 908 turbodiesel at the Petit Le Mans 1000-mile enduro after a nip-and-tuck baffle with arch-rival Audi, which lasted seven of the event’s nine and a half hours.

Audi’s challenge disappeared on the seven-hour mark when Romain Dumas tangled with a back-marker just as he was making a bid for Montagny’s lead. The contentious incident left the Audi R18 TDI which Dumas shared with Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fӓssler in the wall, and the Peugeot then had a clear run to a five-lap victory over the year old Peugeot 908 HDi entered by the semi-works ORECA team.

The result means that the factory Peugeot Sport team has been beaten only three times by arch-rival Audi over the past three seasons, though two of those defeats were at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2010 and 2011. Technical director Bruno Famin suggested that such a feat “was quite incredible with the level of competition we have”.

The Peugeot 908 enjoyed a narrow performance advantage at Petit, though as at the previous Silverstone round, clashes with slower cars proved decisive. The second Audi was put out of contention when Allan McNish was hit up the rear in the third hour, resulting in two long stops for repairs.

The victory gave Peugeot the ILMC manufacturers’ title with one race, at Zhuhai in China, still to go.

Gary Watkins