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2009 24 Hours of Le Mans: Peugeot, the consecration

Departing from the 77th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 55 cars took the departure in 4 categories, 165 drivers taking turns at the controls for the ultimate test of endurance played on the famous and formidable Sarthe circuit, along 13 65 km.

In 2009, as in 2008, the duel of titans opposed Audi, which has won 24 times in the last eight years, and Peugeot has always shown very fast but the reliability and tactical errors were a source intense frustration. In 2008, the race seemed a foregone conclusion for the french manufacturer, but the weather conditions and the strategy of judgments wells have played for the Ingolstadt manufacturer that literally snatches victory to the team French, Danish driver Tom Kristensen managing the feat of an eighth unhook career victory in the Le Mans circuit and setting a new record.

For the 2009 edition, Peugeot brings back its 908 HDI-FAP a turbo-diesel engine, but Audi has chosen to innovate by entering new and very fast R15 TDI V-10 engine turbo-diesel with which the German manufacturer succeeded the feat of winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in March last was his first race. Although Sebring proves to be the ordeal that is closest to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, nothing can truly compare to the test queen of BATTLING endurance France each June. The relative novelty of the R15 TDI was a source of anxiety, these cars have not been so tried and true race that R10 TDI previously used and their reliability over 24 hours remain largely unknown.

In qualifying, Peugeot has managed the feat of winning a third consecutive pole position, the French driver Stephane Sarrazin ahead of the Scottish Allan McNish Audi R15 TDI on a little more than seven tenths of a second. Peugeot Le Mans is THE race win. The stables French is on his land and enjoys strong support from french fans who react loudly to each of the exploits of the crew of the lion.

In 2009, it is the consecration for the french manufacturer after several years of hard work, pure speed but also of intense frustration. The crew consists of Marc Gene, Alexander Wurz and David Brabham won the election in 2009, sixteen years after their last conquest on the Sarthe circuit in 1983. Penalized by suspension troubles back, Sebastien Bourdais, Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin finished in second position, while the number 7 Peugeot of Pedro Lamy, Nicolas Minassian and Christian Klien will tip the sixth after an incident after only 55 minutes of running when Pedro Lamy is confronted, as he left his Pit Stop by Peugeot entered by Pescarolo Team. This contact occurred at the rear of the Peugeot number 7, causes a progressive shredding rear left tire which severely damages the body and the rear end of the car. For Lamy, it was a very long lap, loop low speed before re-integrate the well so that the team made the necessary repairs. The die was cast, the victory is not theirs.

Audi has also unlucky very early in the ordeal, Alexandre Premat Audi sending the number 3 in the tank has gravel turn Indianapolis in the first quarter of an hour of the race! After six thirty race, Lucas Luhr lost the mastery of the number 2 Audi Porsche curves and the contact with the wall means abandoning for Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner.

For the German manufacturer, a single car in the game is still the number 1 R15 TDI driven by Allan McNish, Rinaldo "Dindo" Capello and "Mr. Le Mans", the Danish driver Tom Kristensen, record victories on the Sarthe circuit . Unfortunately, the legendary reliability demontrea by Audi at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was the appointment this year, because this team had to deal with many pit stops to overcome a overheating of the turbocharger. In addition, the Audi drivers had to deal with excessive understeer in the beginning of ordeal, a condition which however improved over the towers while the circuit became more adherent after the deposit of gum on the ideal trajectory.

The decision to Audi, who chose to participate only in the 12 Hours of Sebring and will complement a test program limit of R15 in Europe before point 24 Hours, has probably been their fatal since the ordeal queen endurance preparation requires more than full if you want to claim victory. For Peugeot, the achievement of a certain maturity as a team DOUBLED pure speed of 980 resulted in the ultimate consecration to his audience delirious upon arrival of three french cars that are grouped in last twenty minutes of the race for the "group photo" at the finish line.

2009 24 Hours of Le Mans: Peugeot, the consecration picture #1

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