Apr 09 - Jun 09  : Peugeot Wins at Spa

11 05 2009Peugeot Wins at Spa


The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP racecar

Peugeot Wins at Spa - Next Stop Le Mans

March's 12 Hours of Sebring and this weekend's 1000km de Spa rounded off Team Peugeot Total's competitive preparations for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

The main aim of the Peugeot squad in the Belgian Ardennes was to carry out work ahead of the French endurance race, but it ended up pocketing victory, too.

Both of the Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs entered for the Belgian race succeeded in reaching the chequered flag to gather further valuable information for the team.

The two Peugeots monopolised the front row of the grid – having been separated by just 0.03s in qualifying.

From the start, the diesel-powered V12 908 HDis opened up a healthy lead, with Frenchman Nicolas Minassian in the No.7 car ahead of Catalan Marc Gené (No.9).

The first driver change saw Simon Pagenaud take over in the No.7 and Australia’s David Brabham took the wheel of the No.9.

However, disaster struck for Brabham on Lap 53 when he pulled over too soon after passing the No.28 Courage in heavy traffic, causing contact between the two cars.

He was forced to pit to change the right-hand lower wishbone which caused the No.9 car to drop all of 13 minutes.

In addition to falling down the order, the 908 HDi FAP then lost further ground at around the 100-lap mark when the car was called in for a four-minute stop-and-go penalty because of the incident.

Alexander Wurz, who was then at the wheel, came in for the forced stop before rejoining and tucking in behind the leading car which was in the hands of fellow Austrian Christian Klien.

The No.7 car was the first to greet the chequered flag and secure Team Peugeot Total’s first win since the Le Mans Series race at the Nürburgring in August last year.

The lead car arrived 27s ahead of the second place car, while the No.9 Peugeot ran faultlessly to a 13th place finish.

Australia’s David Brabham, racing on the 50th anniversary of his famous father Sir Jack Brabham’s first grand prix victory, said his difficult day was not without positives.

“It was a disappointing result for us today but we can still walk away with a lot of vital information to take forward to Le Mans next month,” he said.

“I had a pretty frustrating race. I was overtaking another prototype and I thought I had enough room but he moved over, I tried to move to avoid him, but he tagged my right rear bending the wishbone.

“We lost a massive amount of time in the pits but the team did a fantastic job to get me back out there. When we finally got racing again after the safety car I managed to pick up a few places but the penalty we received for that incident obviously dropped us even further down.

“Sometimes you learn more when you have a bad race and I’ve learnt a lot today and so has the team.

“It’s still good to have my first race for Peugeot under my belt and I’m looking forward to next time out at Le Mans.”

Driver of the No.9 car Nicolas Minassian said that, while the focus was on carrying out work for Le Mans, the result was also important.

"The objective was really to learn as much as possible and consequently work on different set-ups.

“I have to admit that today's result is great for morale and has given everyone a tremendous boost ahead of Le Mans."

Peugeot Sport Director, Olivier Quesnel, said the reliability of the two Peugeots at Spa allowed the team to carry out important work for Le Mans.

"With Le Mans fast approaching, today's win has done the team a great deal of good and I am very pleased with our overall performance here at Spa.

“We came here to prepare for next month's big race and everything went very smoothly.”

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