Peugeots power to Sebring 1-2


The pair of factory Peugeots ran away with Saturday’s 58th Sebring 12 Hours, completing a 1-2 sweep three laps ahead of the lone Gulf/Aston Martin. The winning Peugeot 908HDI was driven by Alex Wurz/Marc Gené/Anthony Davidson, who beat team-mates Sébastien Bourdais/Nicolas Minassian/Pedro Lamy across the line by 13.8 seconds. It was Peugeot’s first win at Sebring and its second in America following the team’s victory in last September’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.


Without any competition from Audi this year the Peugeots set the pace all week. The two 908HDIs were the fastest cars in every practice session and were challenged in the race only by Lord Paul Drayson’s Lola-Judd, driven by Emanuele Pirro. But Drayson’s car ran into various problems and finally finished 12th, more than 30 laps behind. “It was a very tough race because we were fighting all the way to the line,” said Wurz, who drove the final three hours in the winning car. “But it was an awesome race with a good team and good preparation.”

Gené congratulated Wurz on his final stint. “Alex did a mega job at the end,” he said. “He drove for three hours and there were no team strategies. So he was racing with Bourdais, and Bourdais is really fast here. He really knows this place but Alex was spot-on. So I think he’s the hero in our car.”


Davidson was delighted to win on his debut with Peugeot: “It’s fantastic to be with the Peugeot team. Until a couple of weeks ago I didn’t even have any contact with these guys. It was quite a late call for the season. I’ve always wanted to come here and win at Sebring. I was second in 2003, and to join the likes of Alex and Marc – Le Mans winners – there was big pressure today. I knew I had big shoes to fill after [David] Brabham but I think we did a good job. We got the car into the lead when I was driving and just stuck it out, and like Marc said Alex did a great job at the end.”


The Gulf/Lola-Aston Martin driven by Adrian Fernández/Stefan Mücke/Harold Primat enjoyed a flawless race, running the entire distance without trouble to finish third. “It was fantastic,” Fernández enthused. “I’m happy for Aston Martin and my team-mates. They’re fantastic drivers and great friends, and we managed to do a great job.”

Fourth overall and winner of the P2 class was Greg Pickett’s Porsche RS Spyder driven by Pickett/Klaus Graf/Sascha Maassen. The car ran perfectly and beat the Highcroft HPD ARX-01c driven by Simon Pagenaud/Marino Franchitti/David Brabham by four laps. The Highcroft car led the P2 class for most of the race, building a six-lap lead at one stage, before an electrical fault lost the team 24 minutes in the pits.


The Audi team will join the Peugeots and Highcroft’s P2 car in more testing at Sebring today (Monday) and tomorrow. All three plan to run 12 hours each day in further preparation for Le Mans. Audi also tested at Homestead last week with its latest R15+ and racing boss Dr Wolfgang Ulrich spent last weekend at Sebring observing his competitors.

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