“We absolutely needed a victory today to boost the team and get our Intercontinental Le Mans Cup off to a flying start because our aim is to win this new series,” said Olivier Quesnel on a day when Peugeot's 908 HDI FAP was the class of the Le Mans Series and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup field.
The “flying start” was delivered by Anthony Davidson who started third in the works Peugeot, moving into second on the opening lap, then taking the lead from the no.7 Audi within ten laps before starting to pull away with ease. The Audi would retire with a mechanical failure soon after, and with both Davidson and Nicolas Lapierre in the privateer ORECA Peugeot able to pull away from the remaining Audi, it became a test of reliability.
And on a day when everything seemed to go right both 908s passed with flying colours – Davidson and Nicolas Minassian claiming the 17th win in the 908s career.
“I thoroughly enjoyed myself during the early part of the race for two reasons: it was the first time I had been given the task of starting in the Peugeot, and also because it was such an exciting scrap,” said Davidson. “It’s a shame that McNish left me on my own! Today’s result is a great way to kick off the championship for Peugeot.”
“I felt very confident on my arrival at Silverstone and I was looking forward to the prospect of racing in the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP again,” added Minassian. “Anthony did an excellent job during the early part of the race and all he left me to do was control from in front! This win is a great way to celebrate my final competitive outing in this car which is quite simply fantastic.”
“The team did a fantastic job, as did the drivers,” Quesnel enthused. “I asked Anthony Davidson to try to take second place at the start, and that’s exactly what he did. The way the rest of the race unfolded exceeded my wildest hopes, and his thrilling early scrap was followed up by some strong stints by Nicolas Minassian.”
Peugeot's successful day was rounded off by Team ORECA Matmut's second place sealing the LMP1 teams' title, Stephane Sarrazin winning the drivers' title after a season where he drove for both ORECA and the works team. The one-two finish (and McNish's retirement) also gave Peugeot a 26 point lead in the ILMC points standings.
Peugeot Sport will hope to protect that advantage on the two other races in the ILMC, firstly at Petit Le Mans on October 2, then Zhuhai in China on November 7. The team will enter two cars at both events.