Friday, June 11, 2010

Peugeot on Pole for 24 Hours of Le Mans


Photo Credit: Audi USA

On a June, Saturday afternoon in France, more than 200 kilometers outside of the country's epicenter of Paris, the city of Le Mans becomes the center of motorsports for the 24-hour of Le Mans. Started in 1923, the race is now an treasured prized by drivers but also auto manufacturers. Last year's win by Peugeot over the Audi Sport Team Joest juggernaut was one example where the auto companies crave the honour of being the first car across the line after 24 hours.

In qualifying for the great endurance race, last year's overall winning manufacturer again bettered Audi. To the concern delight of the French crowd, the Peugeot prototypes swept the top four spots to lead the 2010 endurance event led by the driver pairing of S├ębastien BOURDAIS, Pedro LAMY and Simon PAGENAUD in the #3 Peugeot 908.

Returning this to Circuit de la Sarthe year with a revised they call the Audi R15 Plus, Audi Sport Team Joest are stationed directly behind the French auto maker's efforts with their three-car effort in the 2010 Le Mans event. Looking to position their Audi R15 within the same winning circle where the R8 and R10 inhabited for eight 24-Hour of Le Mans races last decade, Audi has little concern about being outpaced during the qualifying runs. Predicting to find the edge within the 24 hour race, Team Joest is banking on the fuel mileage of their TDI engine and tire durability as sending their vehicles further between fuel stops.

Adding themselves as a darkhorse again for Le Mans success is Aston Martin Racing delivering two Lola chassis cars to 8th and 9th. Little more than 3 seconds slower than the third Audi R15 Plus, the gasoline-fueled Aston Martin engines are no less a legitimate third factory effort in prototype.

As a remaining protoype notable, the #12 Rebellion Racing car driven by Marco Andretti, Neel Jani and Nico Prost will start16th overall for the event.

The wildly diverse production-based GT2 class saw a qualifying at Le Mans resulted in action during and after the session. 2008 and 2009 Le Mans class winning team Risi Competizione flew to pole ahead of the Corvette racing pair. The #82 Ferrari F430GT in the hands of Gianmaria Bruni posted the fast lap around the Circuit de la Sarthe only to have it taken away in post race scrutineering. The class leading time was disallowed when an issue with the #82 vehicle's rear wing was found. With the #82 Ferrari dropped to 12th in GT2, Corvette Racing's #64 leads the #63 team in the class.

Leaving 2011, the current GT1 category will run their final 24 Hour of Le Mans race. With the Chevrolet Corvette C6R running GT2, the slighter faster GT1 cars were led by the Young Drivers Aston Martin Racing contending with a DBR9.

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