Peugeot takes back Le Man’s with diesel speed and stamina

Discussion in 'Diesel powered automobiles' started by xcel, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] Audi’s mighty R15 TDI contingent was a bit of an underdog this year and the results show the same.

    [fimg=right][/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - June 14, 2009

    The lonely road...

    Eventual race winner, #9 Peugeot Turbo-diesel all alone at daybreak during the 77th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans. Photograph by David Vincent/AP.

    After five straight victories at Le Man’s, Audi’s win streak came to a close as Peugeot celebrated a historic one-two victory. Peugeot’s Marc Gene took the checkered flag in the #9 908 HDi FAP while covering 382 laps around the scenic 8.5-mile course during the 77th running of motorsports endurance spectacular. Sebastien Bourdais, Franck Montagny and Stéphane Sarrazin drove the runner-up #8 Peugeot 908 HDi, just one lap back at the flag.

    The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP’s turbo-diesels were specifically designed to beat the Audi diesels and with their superior speed and new found reliability, a French manufacturer regains its bragging rights to the most important race on the planet.

    Audi's #1 R15 TDI, driven by defending champions Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello, finished third, six laps off the winners pace and was quickly falling back in the final three hours with mechanical problems.

    Almost a classic Start to Finish lead

    Franck Montagny blasted away from the pole position at the start of the race in the #8 908 HDi FAP before handing over to Bourdais who was later forced to pit the race-leading car with a suspension problem in the middle of the night. This handed the lead over to Peugeot’s #9 908 HDi FAP entry, a lead that Gene, Alex Wurz and David Brabham would hold all the way to the finish.

    Given the sheer speed of the 908 HDi FAP’s this weekend, Audi has a lot of catching up to do over the next 12 months.

    The only blot on an almost perfect weekend for the Peugeot squad was a pit road incident that cost the #7 908 driven by Minassian, Christian Klien and Lamy any hope of victory. If it is any consolation, Minassian recorded the fastest lap of the race with a 3:24.352s, nearly two seconds faster than the best lap recorded by the race-winning #9 908 HDi FAP.

    Audi’s all-new R15’s was forced to skip a number of Le Mans series races this spring due to budgetary decisions and Ingolstadt is surely regretting those decisions now. Track time that was so desperately needed for the all-new R15’s was severely curtailed and as a result, Audi Sport had to wait until the 24 Hours of Le Man’s to finish off their prototypes testing regimes.

    "Obviously we are a little disappointed about the result,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport. “We didn’t manage to extract the full potential of the Audi R15 TDI in the race, which we had seen during testing. In addition, we had several technical problems that really caught us by surprise. As a result, we could only get one car onto the podium. Peugeot produced a fantastic performance and certainly deserved the victory. We will analyze the problems we had to ensure we come back stronger in 2010.”

    Defending champions Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello in the #1 R15 TDI drove a flawless race but simply could not compete against the faster Peugeots. A mechanical issue just three hours before the finish dropped them further back as Kristensen would took the checkered flag in third position, seven laps behind the leader.

    After the race, Audi’s Allan McNish showed great sportsmanship by congratulating the winning Peugeot teams and highlighting the winners, Marc Gené, Alex Wurz and David Brabham.

    Congratulations to Peugeot after a hard fought and well deserved victory. A Peugeot will pace the 78th running of Le Mans in 2010 with a batch of improved 908 HDi FAPs out and hungry for more.
  2. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    It was a great race!

    Congrats to Peugeot!
  3. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    Way to go, Peugeot! The 908 is a fast car, but difficulties in other areas have sometimes kept them from winning. This was finally the year and they proved what the 908 can truly do. Now Audi has to play catch-up with the R15. Already looking forward to seeing these two cars do battle again.
  4. 99LeCouch

    99LeCouch Well-Known Member

    Go diesel! Not just for lorries anymore...
  5. SlowHands

    SlowHands Hypermiling Ironman

    mighty mighty diesels!

Share This Page