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TERTRE ROUGE TIMES : A JOURNAL OF ENDURANCE RACING

Peugeot takes Spa; it’s on to Le Mans!

Peugeot finished first and second at Spa in the european Le Mans series.

SPA, Belgium -- With a full field of factory teams here (four Peugeots and three Audis), it was the Peugeot of Pedro Lamy, Simon Pagenaud, and Sebastien Bourdais  that flexed its muscles, as well as taking advantage of a little luck, to win the second event in the European Le Mans series. The Audi of Allan McNish, Dino Capello, and Tom Kristenson finished third after leading in the race. The Spa, half the length of the Circuit de la Sarthe, with 15 turns, served as a last tune-up for both the teams (and the rest of the competitors there) and it is difficult to tell if the Peugeot and Audi teams were more interested in preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, or measuring each other for the race in June. It might depend on what step one was standing on the podium and certainly neither team wanted to give away anything for the 24 hour event in June. The Audi R15-plus, after its innaugural win at the first Le Mans Series race of the season at Castellet, its first win since the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2009, certainly was looking to see if the new car could run with the Peugeot and Peugeot wanted to continue its dominance of the LMP1 class, where the factory has not lost since that very same 2009 Sebring race. It is not accurate to say that the Peugeot was dominant in the event at Spa, but the Peugeot was able to put its car in the lead when it counted and there was little that the Audis seemingly could do to battle back into contention; Indeed, late in the race the number two finishing Peugeot caught and passed the Audi for second place, again rubbing salt in the wounds of Team Audi. Still you have to wonder, in a spy-versus-spy sort of race what the real goals of each team actually was -- no one wants to finish second -- and someone has to win -- but it is true that both teams are sorting out their respective cars for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In a month we will know the truth. Pos  Drivers                                              Cl   Car                 Time/Gap 1.  Lamy/Bourdais/Pagenaud             P1   Peugeot         6h00m39.012s 2.  Montagny/Sarrazin/Minassian    P1   Peugeot          + 1m08.308s 3.  Capello/Kristensen/Mcnish          P1   Audi             + 1m26.215s 4.  Gene/Wurz/Davidson                      P1   Peugeot             + 1 laps 5.  Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller   P1   Audi                + 2 laps 6.  Amaral/Pla                                           P2   Ginetta-Zytek       + 9 laps 7.  Erdos/Newton/Wallace                  P2   Lola HPD            + 9 laps 8.  Moreau/Hein                                       P2   Pescarolo-Judd     + 10 laps 9.  Lahaye/Nicolet                                  P2   Pescarolo-Judd     + 11 laps 10.  Geri/Piccini/Piccini                      P2   Lola-Judd          + 11 laps 11.  Belicchi/Boullion                            P1   Lola-Rebellion     + 12 laps 12.  Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer         P1   Audi               + 13 laps 13.  Ragues/Mailleux/Ickx                P1   Lola-Aston         + 14 laps 14.  Zacchia/Kaufmann/Moro         FLM  FLM ORECA          + 15 laps 15.  Lieb/Lietz                                        GT2  Porsche            + 15 laps 16.  Schell/da Rocha                            P2   Courage-ORECA      + 16 laps 17.  Leinders/Palttala/de DonckerGT1  Ford               + 16 laps 18.  Kraihamer/de Crem/Delhez     FLM  FLM ORECA          + 16 laps 19.  Bruni/Melo                                      GT2  Ferrari            + 16 laps 20.  Alesi/Fisichella/Vilander        GT2  Ferrari            + 16 laps 21.  Priaulx/Muller/Farfus                GT2  BMW                + 16 laps 22.  Pilet/Narac                                      GT2  Porsche            + 16 laps 23.  Mutsch/Hirschi/Beche              GT1  Ford               + 16 laps 24.  Kirkaldy/Mullen                           GT2  Ferrari            + 17 laps 25.  Dumbreck/Coronel                     GT2  Spyker             + 18 laps 26.  Ragginger/Ried/Long                GT2  Porsche            + 18 laps 27.  Holzer/Westbrook                      GT2  Porsche            + 18 laps 28.  Allemann/Frey/Zimmer          GT1  Ford               + 18 laps 29.  Farnbacher/Simonsen              GT2  Ferrari            + 18 laps 30.  Perez Companc/Russo             GT2  Ferrari            + 19 laps 31.  Gardel/Goueslard/Rees           GT1  Saleen             + 19 laps 32.  Jousse/Gregoire/Hart             GT1  Corvette           + 19 laps 33.  Schroyen/Van Dam/Lacko    GT1  Saleen             + 19 laps 34.  Muller/Werner/Alzen              GT2  BMW                + 19 laps 35.  Van Splunteren/ Hommerson/Machiels                      GT2  Porsche            + 20 laps 36.  Kutemann/Basso/ Hartshorne                                             FLM  FLM ORECA          + 22 laps 37.  Daniels/Slingerland/Lanik     GT2  Porsche            + 23 laps 38.  Ehret/Quaife/Kaffer                  GT2  Ferrari            + 34 laps 39.  Frey/Meichtry/Bruneau         P2   Radical-Judd       + 36 laps

Peugeot continues to dominate Le Mans series

Coverage from the French sporting newspaper L'Equipe of the race going on at the Paul Ricard track.

LE CAMP DU CASTELLET, Fr -- The cat and mouse game between Audi and Peugeot is on at the Circuit Paul Ricard, where after Audi had topped its French rival in practice, the French Lion roared once again by nailing the pole position for the second race of the European Le Mans series with a 1:41.195 tour of the course.  Audi set top time in practice  with their R-15 Plus Friday for the eight hours of Paul Ricard, a part of the Le Mans Series in Europe and a major event leading up to the prestigous 24 Hours of Le Mans in June with a lap of 1:42.801. In qualifying they went 1:41.632 to further improve their time but still not be able to surpass the Peugoet.

Audi has pointed to the fact that this is the first time that they have actually been able to put the car into a race since it came out of the factory just over a month ago. The new car, dubbed the R-15 plus has been through aerodynamic tests at Homestead, Florida, a multi-day endurance test at Sebring (but did not participate in the race) and tire tests at Monza whereas the Peugeot and many of the other competitors were at the track for a test day earlier in the year.

Audi, having learned from last year's Le Mans event, where the new car gave them fits until it was too late, has decided to try and get as much test time prior to 24 Hours of Le Mans and is treating this event as just another test session -- and while there is some truth in that -- anyone who knows drivers Allan McNish and Dindo Capello understand that they want to win above all else.

While the Peugeot HD 908 that is being run by Team Oreca is hardly the "B" team (compared to the multi winners piuloting the Audi), it features only one factory driver, Stephen Sarzin, who is on load from the Peugeot factory team. The re-designed Audi turned top time in two of three practive sessions but the rule of the day is to prepare of Le Mans -- so in qualifying the 20 minute session was used as testing -- with two different set-ups used. And the rule of the day is also that Peugeot sits on the pole.

One has to be wondering if either of these two top teams is showing all that they have to the other. Needless to say Audi is intent in wresting back the 24 Hours of Le Mans title that it has held for most of the last decade -- until the Peugeot won last year -- and won just about everything else after Le Mans too.

Warm-ups will kick-off a full day of racing on Sunday beginning at 8:20 French time.

Paul Ricard Le Mans series qualifying results:

Panis/Lapierre/Sarrazin (Peugeot) 1m 41.195s

2 Capello/McNish (Audi R15 TDI) 1m 41.632s

3 Primat/Mücke/Fernandez (Lola-Aston Martin) 1m 42.354s

4 Ayari/Andre/Duval (Oreca-AIM) 1m 42.685s

5 Belicchi/Boullion/Smith (Lola-Rebellion) 1m 43.435s

6 Andretti/Jani/Prost (Lola-Rebellion) 1m 44.032s

7 Mansell/Mansell/Mansell (Ginetta-Zytek) 1m 44.475s

8 Ragues/Mailleux/Ickx (Lola-Aston Martin) 1m 44.914s

9 Leventis/Watts/Kane (Acura/Honda) 1m 44.989s

10 Amaral/Pla/Hughes (Ginetta-Zytek) 1m 47.112s

 
 

Peugeot leads at Paul Ricard

PAUL RICARD, Fr -- Peugeot turned in the top time at the Paul Ricard track near Marseille Friday in preparation for the first race of the Le Mans Series opener. The Peugeot HD 908, which is run by the Oreca Team was about a quarter second than the Audi R-15-plus in the opening practice session. Other time information is as follows: Pos Drivers                       Class/Team/Car        Time       Gap   Laps 1. Panis/Lapierre/Sarrazin       P1 ORECA Peugeot      1m44.154s          28 2. Capello/Kristensen/McNish     P1 Audi               1m44.397s  +0.243  19 3. Ayari/Andre/Duval             P1 ORECA              1m44.660s  +0.506  21 4. Prost/Jani                    P1 Rebellion Lola     1m44.800s  +0.646  25 5. Belicchi/Boullion/Smith       P1 Rebellion Lola     1m45.568s  +1.414  22 6. Fernandez/Primat/Mucke        P1 Aston Martin       1m46.009s  +1.855  22 7. Ragues/Mailleux/Ickx          P1 Signature Aston    1m47.107s  +2.953  27 8. Leventis/Watts/Kane           P2 Strakka HPD        1m48.160s  +4.006  24 9. Mansell/Mansell/Mansell       P1 Beechdean Ginetta  1m48.272s  +4.118  11 10. Amaral/Pla/Hughes             P2 Quifel Ginetta     1m49.065s  +4.911  20 11. Erdos/Newton/Wallace          P2 RML Lola           1m49.551s  +5.397  21 12. Geri/Piccini/Piccini          P2 Racing Box Lola    1m50.221s  +6.067  21 13. Hein/Moreau                   P2 Oak Pescarolo      1m50.924s  +6.770  21 14. Ojjeh/Greaves/Ebbesvik        P2 Bruich. Ginetta    1m50.943s  +6.789  23 15. Salini/Salini/Gommendy        P2 WR-Zytek           1m53.047s  +8.893  24 16. Cioci/Perazzini/Ardizzone     P2 Racing Box Lola    1m53.514s  +9.360  23 17. Toulemonde/Zollinger/Zampatti LC Formula Le Mans    1m56.150s +11.996  25 18. Zacchia/Moro/Kaufmann         LC Formula Le Mans    1m56.514s +12.360  27 19. Beche/Pillon/Capillaire       LC Formula Le Mans    1m56.579s +12.425  25 20. Frey/Meichtry/Dueck           P2 Race Perf. Radical 1m56.617s +12.463  21 21. Kraihamer/de Crem/Delhez      LC Formula Le Mans    1m56.854s +12.700  23 22. Pourtales/Noda/Kennard        P2 KSM Lola           1m56.938s +12.784  10 23. Stirling/Hines/Piscopo        LC Formula Le Mans    1m58.539s +14.385  27 24. Schell/Metz/da Rocha          P2 Pegasus Courage    1m58.671s +14.517  14 25. Gardel/Goueslard/Canal       GT1 Larbre Saleen      1m58.955s +14.801  17 26. Kirkaldy/Mullen              GT2 CRS Ferrari        1m58.979s +14.825  20 27. Barlesi/Cicognani/Chalandon   LC Formula Le Mans    1m59.639s +15.485  25 28. Bruni/Melo                   GT2 AF Cornse Ferrari  1m59.971s +15.817  20 29. Kutemann/Basso/Hartshorne     LC Formula Le Mans    2m00.095s +15.941  22 30. Holzer/Westbrook             GT2 Prospeed Porsche   2m00.401s +16.247  16 31. Bell/Turner                  GT2 JMW Aston Martin   2m00.437s +16.283  23 32. Lieb/Lietz                   GT2 Felbermayr Porsche 2m00.468s +16.314  20 33. Farnbacher/Simonsen          GT2 Farnbacher Ferrari 2m00.713s +16.559  26 34. Fisichella/Vilander/Alesi    GT2 AF Corse Ferrari   2m00.757s +16.603  23 35. Ehret/Quaife/Kaffer          GT2 CRS Ferrari        2m00.958s +16.804  21 36. Companc/Russo                GT2 AF Corse Ferrari   2m01.159s +17.005  26 37. Narac/Pilet                  GT2 IMSA Porsche       2m01.422s +17.268  24 38. Dumbreck/Coronel/Bleekemolen GT2 Spyker             2m01.846s +17.692  23 39. Ragginger/Ried/Long          GT2 Felbermayr Porsche 2m02.616s +18.462  21 40. Muller/Werner                GT2 BMW                2m02.923s +18.769  29 41. Lahaye/Nicolet                P2 Oak Pescarolo      no time
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