The Team Peugeot Total entered Peugeot 908 of Sebastien Bourdais and Simon Pagenaud notched up the third win for the Peugeot 908 in its debut year, continuing their form in the Intercontinental Le Mans Series (ILMC) at the Six Hours of Silverstone.
“It's a great win,” said Olivier Quesnel, Peugeot Sport director. “Once again, both our cars made it to the finish and we scored two more points than our main rival. I note that Peugeot won at Sebring then at Spa-Francorchamps, finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, achieved a one-two at Imola and then also won here, at Silverstone. We need to finish well at Road Atlanta and then at Zhuhai, but this has been a great season with a new car which has finished every race since its competitive debut.”
Peugeot had two works supported diesel coupes entered in the race, but with half and hour the no.8 car started by Franck Montagny had suffered a major set back. The Frenchman tried to pass a slower Formula Le Mans class car approaching Copse. Making contact with the slower car the 908 was sent across the gravel on the outside of the right hander coming to rest against the tyre barrier.
Though he was briefly out of the car Montagny brought the car back to the pits, the team able to repair the damage – a suspension wishbone and the splitter – and put the car back on track, though well out of contention for the win as their teammate and the two Audis set a startling pace at the front of the race.
“The start of the race was closer to a sprint than an endurance race,” said Bourdais. “There was some oil on the track at the start, so it was quite tricky and I was almost relieved when McNish went past me! He eased off a little and I took advantage. After the safety car period, I had a tussle with Timo Bernhard. We attacked each other on several occasions, depending on the traffic. It was an incident-packed stint!”
The leading trio was reduced to a pair, McNish losing time after contact with a GT class car. Still the leaders relentlessly swapped the lead, often separated by only a handful of seconds – again more reminiscent of a sprint race than a multi-class endurance event.
Unfortunately the battle for the lead was settled when the Audi was forced to pit for repairs after contact on track.
The Audi now a relatively safe distance behind, though still on the same lap Pagenaud was able to cross the line at the end of the six hours, having completed 190 laps, with a minute advantage over the no.1 Audi.
“It’s a perfect weekend for Peugeot and us,” said Pagenaud, who was drafted into the team to replace an injured Anthony Davidson. “With a pole position and a race win. We have met all our goals. A few days ago, I wasn't sure if I would be racing here or not, so it's special feeling, especially as I hadn't raced at this track before. I spare a thought for Anthony Davidson, because this is his race. He has been here all weekend to offer me advice. This win is down to the entire team and all of our partners. The drivers are the last link in the chain, we have to finish off the job, which is what we have done today.”
The next round of the ILMC it Petit Le Mans (September 28-October 1) at Road Atlanta.