Peugeot HDi wins at Monza, sends Audi message

It looks like Audi may have some real competition at LeMans this year. The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP driven by Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gené took a fantastic win Sunday in Monza on its first appearance at the Le Mans series, watched by Peugeot’s Director General Frederic Saint-Geours. Their success was crowned by a third place for the second Peugeot crew of Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy.

This achievement was the culmination of more than a year of hard work from the entire Peugeot Total team, which started its Le Mans program from a blank sheet of paper just 16 months ago. The winning car encountered only two problems: a badly-closed door following the first fuel stop and a warning light for an oil pressure sensor – which was thankfully of no consequence.

The second car experienced a similar problem with its door at the first fuel stop, and then a gearbox glitch that led to the car becoming stuck in first gear after the first chicane on lap 61. Stephane Sarrazin – running in second place at the time, just 20 seconds behind the n°7 908 HDi FAP – nursed the car back to the pits where the mechanics changed the gearshift command unit. He lost five laps and re-joined in 12th place with the bit between his teeth. Stephane set fastest lap before handing the car over to his team mate Pedro Lamy. The Portuguese driver continued the crew’s charge, taking the car to an eventual third place at the finish.

Nicolas Minassian : “This result was a huge surprise for us as we have never done so many consecutive kilometers before in a test session. We just had two small problems: a badly-closed door at the first fuel stop and oil pressure warning that turned out to be nothing but still forced me to make a trip to the pits.“

Marc Gené : “The performance of the 908 HDi FAP is not so different to that of a Formula 1 car, but with a very different engine. The race was very good for me, but I was very worried that I would not finish as I thought we had a gearbox problem in the last few laps."

Pedro Lamy : “ It was truly a big and very pleasant surprise ! The team did a fantastic job, while I tried to drive carefully to look after an injury I sustained earlier to my Achilles tendon. I’d like to say a big thank you to the entire team that has kept faith with me throughout the last few weeks. I’m so happy to be here ! “

Stéphane Sarrazin : “ Thank you to the entire team, which has done such a fantastic job over the last few months. I was very disappointed after the gearbox problem that cost us five laps, but I was soon back in the groove again and I really enjoyed myself driving the 908."

Race results – Monza.

Full race results times for the first round of the 2007 Le Mans Series at Monza, Italy.

1. Minassian/Gene Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP 173 laps LMP1
2. Collard/Bullion Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo-Judd 172 laps LMP1
3. Sarrazin/Lamy Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP 171 laps LMP1
4. Primat/Tinseau Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo-Judd 170 laps LMP1
5. Gounon/Moreau Courage Competition Courage LC70-AER 168 laps LMP1
6. Lienhard/Theys/van de Poele Horag Racing Lola B05/40-Judd 165 laps LMP2
7. Barbosa/Hall/Keen Rollcentre Racing Pescarolo-Judd 163 laps LMP1
8. Erdos/Newton RML MG Lola EX264-AER 161 laps LMP2
9. Alphand/Policand/Goueslard Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6-R 160 laps GT1
10. Bouchut/Gardel/Gollin Aston Martin Racing Larbre Aston Martin DBR9 159 laps GT1
11. Blanchemain/Dumez/Vosse Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C5-R 159 laps GT1
12. Garcia/Halliday Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 158 laps GT1
13. Perazzini/Cioci/Tavano Racing Box Saleen S7-R 155 laps GT1
14. Hernandez/Bonetti/Simone GPC Sport Ferrari F430 GT 154 laps GT2
15. Caffi/Zardo Scuderia Villorba Corse Ferrari F430 GT 154 laps GT2
16. Bell/Simonsen Virgo Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT 154 laps GT2
17. Kimber-Smith/Watts Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLM 153 laps GT2
18. Rosa/Drudi/Mowlem GPC Sport Ferrari F430 GT 152 laps GT2
19. Narac/Lietz IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 152 laps GT2
20. Belicchi/Chiesa/Kane Speedy Racing Team Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 151 laps GT2

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