Mon, Jun 15, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Peugeot end Audi’s five-year run with victory at Le Mans

REUTERS , LE MANS, FRANCE

Mechanics work on Peugeot HDI FAP No. 9, driven by Alexander Wurz, David Brabham and Marc Gene, during the Le Mans 24 hour race in Le Mans, France, yesterday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Peugeot clinched their first victory since 1993 in the Le Mans 24 Hour sportscar race with a one-two finish at the Circuit de la Sarthe yesterday, ending Audi’s five-year reign.

Spaniard Marc Gene, Australian David Brabham and Austrian Alexander Wurz completed 382 laps to give the French manufacturer the win.

Brabham succeeds his elder brother Geoff, who was at the wheel of the winning Peugeot 905 16 years ago.

Another Peugeot, driven by Frenchmen Sebastien Bourdais, Stephane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny took second place one lap behind.

Eight-time champion Tom Kristensen of Denmark, driving the Audi No. 1, was third, six laps behind with teammates Rinaldo Capello of Italy and Briton Allan McNish, one year after the trio prevailed in France.

Audi had won eight of the nine previous editions of the world’s oldest sportscar race, which started in 1923.

Their No. 1 car was hit by a string of mechanical problems in the closing stages.

They had to change their steering wheel about four hours before the end and were forced to make another stop a few minutes later to run checks on the rear of the car that involved the entire pit crew.

Peugeot lost a private-run car overnight when Benoit Treluyer crashed out spectacularly. His car was destroyed and the French driver was taken to a medical center, but his team said he was fine.

“Reassuring news from the medical center on Benoit,” read a statement on the team’s Web site. “He is resting. He is unhurt, he just needs to stay a couple of hours under observation.”

Underdogs Aston Martin were fourth, nine laps off the pace.

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