The first real test of Peugeot Total's Le Mans-bound 908 HDi FAP prototype was a resounding success. The pair of diesel-powered prototypes finished 1st and 3rd in this weekend's 1000 kilometer Le Mans series race at Monza. The winning car, #7, driven by Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gené encountered two minor problems: a door that did not shut properly and an oil pressure sensor warning light. The #8 car, piloted by Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy, had a gearbox problem that caused them to lose time in the pits while it was repaired. Still, the team was able to get the car back on the circuit and guide it to a podium finish. Second place was taken by the #16 Pescarolo Judd. You can read Peugeot's release after the jump, and view the full race results here.
[Source: Peugeot Sport]
LE MANS SERIES
MONZA 1000KMS (13-14-15 April 2007)
FIRST RACE, FIRST VICTORY!
The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP driven by Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gené took a fantastic win today 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 programme 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 kilometres before in a test session. We just had two small problems: a badly-closed door at the first fuel stop and 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.»
Next Le Mans Series round : Valencia (Spain) / 5-6 May