Peugeot increased their lead at the top of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup manufacturers' standings, taking another 1-2 finish in the 6 Hours of Imola to add to their success at Spa-Francorchamps in May.
The French team bounced back from missing out at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a commanding performance from Sebastien Bourdais and Anthony Davidson – sharing the no.7 car for the first time. The Anglo-French pairing claimed pole position and added the fastest race lap as they completed 220 laps of the 4.9 track to claim the race win.
“I got on really well with Anthony,” Bourdais commented on the new partnership, “who was the quickest driver this weekend. Right from the word go, we found a set-up that worked for us both. The race was not without incident, but nothing that could stop us from winning and securing a one-two.”
The second Peugeot 908 in race, shared by Stephane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny was the only other car to finish on the lead lap, the pair in the no.8 car a contender to take the win from their teammates before team orders intervened in the final hour of the race. Peugeot's biggest rivals, the pair of works Audi R18 finished third and fourth, a lap down.
The race, however, was far from easy for the race winners. While the anticipated safety car periods never materialised the lead car was delayed on two different occasions, once when Bourdais lost half a minute in the pits, a victim of the tight quarters at the former Grand Prix venue.
The Frenchman was also at the wheel in the closing stages, when contact with a slower car caused a puncture, making him give up the lead in order to pit. Montagny briefly took the lead, before he too made contact with another car, his car developing a puncture which necessitated a pitstop to return him to second place.
“This one-two is good for the whole team,” said technical director Bruno Famin. “As is often the case in endurance, the win came down to performance, reliability and fuel economy.”
“What could be better than to win a race after Le Mans?” asked Montagny. “Once again, both our cars have completed the race, and this time in the top two places. I am proud to be part of this team. We had an excellent level of performance but were a little surprised to be so far ahead of our rivals. We know they are going to work hard to bounce back next time. There will be other great scraps to come.”