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GP Week : Issue 50
T he 2009 running of the world’s most famous motor race has been won by the #9 Peugeot 908 TDi driven by former F1 racers Marc Gene, David Brabham and Alex Wurz. The trio dominated proceedings, taking over the lead from the pole-sitting #8 Peugeot 908 TDi of Stephane Sarrazin, Sebastien Bourdais and Franck Montagny in the sixth hour of the contest, and winning from the sister car by a clear lap. The expected challenge from the all new Audi R15s never materialised as, for once, it was the German manufacturer which had reliability concerns, and although last year’s winners McNish, Capello and Kristensen finished on the podium in third, they were six laps adrift of the winning Peugeot. The race had begun with a brilliant scrap between the #8 Peugeot and the #1 Audi, but it was former F1 star Montagny who took control of the race in the early running, pulling out a healthy advantage in the opening hours. 30 But while things were ticking along brilliantly for the #8 Peugeot, life was not so hot for the #7 car which was released into the path of a rival Pescarolo Peugeot in the pits. The resultant puncture to Lamy’s #7 car resulted in a blowout on the Mulsanne straight and put paid to the #7 challenge within the first hour. But the misfortune wasn’t restricted to Peugeot, as Audi was struggling from early on. Their #3 car, driven by Alex Premat, suffered a power steering failure at Indianapolis and ran into the barriers, losing two laps in the process of retrieving the car from the tyres. Up at the front, it looked as though the #8 Peugeot would simply run away with the race, but when Sebastien Bourdais brought the car in during the sixth hour, a ten minute pitstop to fix a loose disc-bell dropped him to sixth, one lap down. That the #8 was able to come home after the following 18 hours at just that one lap disadvantage, while making