Pagenaud, Bourdais Win Six Hours For Silverstone For Peugeot

No.7 Peugeot 908, 6 Hours of Silverstone - Photo Credit: Peugeot Sport
No.7 Peugeot 908, 6 Hours of Silverstone - Photo Credit: Peugeot Sport

Peugeot kept up their winning record in the Intercontinental Le Mans Series, winning the 6 Hours of Silverstone after both Audi R18 were delayed after contact with slower traffic.

The battle for the lead of the race revolved around the polesitting no.7 Peugeot of Simon Pagenaud and Sebastien Bourdais and the no.1 Audi piloted by Marcel Fassler and Timo Bernhard. The two cars had risen to the lead after a first hour of racing during which the second cars of both teams were delayed after on track contact.

Franck Montagny, in the no.8 Peugeot was the first to fall foul, contact with a Formula Le Mans sending the Frenchman skittering across the Copse gravel and into the tyre wall. Later in the first hour, and after swapping the lead back and forth bit Bourdais, Allan McNish suffered contact with the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458.

The resulting delay – to replace broken suspension – dropped the R18 down the order, putting the hopes of Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich and the rest of the Audi team behind a lone car. Unlike Le Mans in June this lone car was unable to beat the rival Peugeot.

Bernhard and Le Mans winner Fassler swapped the lead with the Peugeot for much of the remainder of the race, the pair of diesels separated by less a minute, the gap frequently closing to a matter of seconds. Fassler in particular shone in third hour of race chipping away at a lead of thirty second to take the lead, his advantage at the half way mark of the race less than two seconds. All the while the pair fought through the slower traffic around the 5.9km Grand Prix track.

With two of the leading cars already taken out of contention it was perhaps a disappointing inevitability that the race would be decided by the unwitting intervention of another slower car.

This time the no.1 Audi stayed on track but damage to the rear bodywork – and specifically the rear lights and legality panels – prompted a trip into the garage for the Joest team to affect repairs. Though speedy – the repairs only costing a little more than a minute – it was enough to see the Peugeot safely into the lead, holding a minute advantage to the end of the race.

The OAK Racing trio of Jacques Nicolet, Olivier Pla and Alex Premat took the third spot on the overall podium. Five laps behind the lead pair they led the three leading petrol cars on the same lap beating the no.13 Rebellion Racing entry and the second LMP1 OAK car to third place. The lone Pescarolo Team car finished sixth, the squad falling behind the Rebellion in the Le Mans Series standings with just the final round at Estoril remaining.

Also in the LMS standing Greaves Motorsport need just a single point from Estoril to clinchLMP2 honours. The team took a fourth win of 2011, taking the lead early and finishing the six hours a lap clear of the ORECA 03 of Race Performance.

Greaves, with drivers Karim Ojjeh, Olivier Lombard and Tom KimberSmith took the lead on the opening lap, only to lose it to Strakka Racing – the fastest team in qualifying. However, Strakka and starting driver Jonny Kane were another to lose out in contact with another car. Contact with the GTEAm Larbre Competition Corvette at Club punctured the left rear. Having just passed the entrance to the new pitlane at Silverstone Kane attempted to limp around a full lap. Unfortunately, the tyre blew on his way to the pits causing damage to the rear bodywork.

The delay and then damage cost Strakka 11 laps, a gap that remained between they and the class leaders until the checkered flag.

AF Corse and Luxury Racing gave Ferrari a 1-2 finish in GTEPro, the Italian pairing of Giancarlo Fisichella and Gimmi Bruni completing 168 laps, one more than Stephane Ortelli and Fred Makowiecki.

Andy Priaulx and Augusto Farfus, starting from the class front row that shared the front row struggled with poor handling from their BMWs. Farfus lost further ground under an early safety car after the TDS Racing LMP2 car went off. The best of the BMWs – Priaulx driving with Uwe Alzen – rallied to fourth in class, falling short of the podium, snapping the manufacturer's streak of results in the ILMC. Defending LMS champions Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz instead took the final step of the podium for Team FelbermayrProton.