Peugeot finally put three years of pain and frustration behind it to record a glorious and dominant victory in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours.
The giant partisan crowd exploded in ecstacy as Marc Gene led home a formation of turbo-diesel 908 HdiFAPs across the line to record a famous win in France's heartland.
For Gene it was a historic moment as he became the first Spaniard to win at La Sarthe. It was equally special for team-mates David Brabham -- who recorded his first outright victory at his 16th attempt -- and Alex Wurz, who had cause to celebrate as he became a two-time winner (he also won the race in 1996).
For Peugeot it was a chance to erase the memory of 2008, when a pressure-packed and emotional event culminated in it giving away the race through a series of errors and letting arch-rivals Audi through to win. No chance of that this time around as Peugeot's race and its strategy ran-out with clockwork precision.
The final hour was something of an anti-climax as far as racing was concerned, following the drama of the 23rd chapter, with Gene leading the field around behind the safety car following Seiji Ara's shunt.
Once running in clear air, Gene calmly brought home the #9 car ahead of team-mate Sebastien Bourdais, whose #8 crew of Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin had relentlessly pursued the winners through the night before being ordered to maintain formation three hours from the end of the race.
The #8 had led the race itself during the early stages until it endured a long stop to repair a loose disc-case.
Tom Kristensen brought the #1 Audi R15 TDI home a distant third, the German manufacturer having suffered a less than efficient debut for its new chassis - and watched it's unbeaten turbo-diesel record broken by Peugeot.
It was impossible for the Dane and his crewmates Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello not to view the result as a disappointment as the Audi challenge crumbled away through niggling problems.
Tomas Enge brought home the Aston Martin Lola home fourth, following an unexpectedly trouble-free run for the Gulf coloured car co-driven by Stefen Mucke and Jan Charouz.
Soleil Ayari was fifth in the sole remaining ORECA while Nicolas Minassian brought the third Peugeot home sixth.
Emmanuel Collard took a clear victory for the Essex team in LMP2, after the only other Porsche RS Spyder crashed in the 23rd hour. Ara's demise means that Xavier Pompidou took second place in class for the Speedy Lola team.
Longtime Corvette servant Johnny O'Connell was given the honour of crossing the line for GM Chevrolet as the C6.R took a swansong victory in GT1 - it effectively finished seven laps ahead of Julien Jousse's privateer Corvette. In reality the gap was less than that as the team gave the car a ceremonial polish before releasing it back on to the track to take its final win.
Risi Competizione took a dominant win in the GT2 class as Jaime Melo took the flag in the Ferrari F430 GT that had led a serious battle through the night until it's rivals fell away one by one through until dawn.
Fabio Babini took second in the BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari, with Tracy Krohn third in his own 360.
77th Le Mans 24 Hours - CLASSIFIED:
Pos Class Drivers Team Make Laps
1. LMP1 Brabham
Wurz Peugeot Sport Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 382
2. LMP1 Bourdais
Sarrazin Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 381
3. LMP1 Capello
McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R15 TDI 376
4. LMP1 Charouz
Mucke AMR Eastern Europe Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 373
5. LMP1 Panis
Ayari Team Oreca Matmut AIM Oreca 01-AIM 370
6. LMP1 Minassian
Klien Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 369
7. LMP1 Zwolsman Jr
Lotterer Kolles Audi R10 TDI 369
8. LMP1 Tinseau
Barbosa Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo 01-Judd 368
9. LMP1 Albers
Mondini Kolles Audi R10 TDI 360
10. LMP2 Elgaard
Collard Team Essex Porsche RS Spyder 357
11. LMP1 Ragues
Andre Signature Plus Courage-Oreca LC70E-Judd 344
12. LMP2 Leuenberger
Kane Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola B08/80-Judd 343
13. LMP1 Davidson
Verstappen Aston Martin Racing Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 342
14. LMP1 Belicchi
Jani Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola B08/60-Aston Martin 342
15. GT1 O'Connell
Garcia Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R 342
16. GT1 Maassen
Clairay Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R 336
17. LMP1 Bernhard
Dumas Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R15 TDI 333
18. GT2 Melo
Salo Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT2 329
19. GT2 Babini
Ruberti BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari F430 GT2 327
20. LMP2 Nicolet
Yvon OAK Racing Pescarolo 01-Mazda 325
21. LMP1 Hardman
Watts Strakka Racing Ginetta-Zytek 09S 325
22. GT2 Krohn
van de Poele
Jonsson Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT2 323
23. GT2 Bell
Sugden JMW Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT2 320
24. LMP1 Campbell-Walter
Ianetta Creation Autosportif Creation CA07-Judd 319
25. GT2 Coronel
Janis Snoras Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2-R 319
26. GT2 Bruni
Russo AF Corse Ferrari F430 GT2 317
27. GT2 Mansell
Rusinov Team Modena Ferrari F430 GT2 314
28. LMP2 Barazi
Bennett Team Barazi-Epsilon Zytek 07S/2 306
29. GT2 Rodrigues
Bouchut JMB Racing Ferrari F430 GT2 304
30. GT2 Dempsey
Foster Team Advanced Engineering Ferrari F430 GT2 301
31. GT1 Lichtner-Hoyer
Muller Jetalliance Racing Aston Martin DBR9 294
32. GT2 McInerney
Vergers Virgo Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT2 280
NOT CLASSIFIED / RETIREMENTS:
Maassen NAVI Team Goh Porsche RS Spyder 339
Fassler Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R 311
Dyson Ray Mallock Ltd. Lola B08/86-Mazda 273
Franchitti Drayson Racing Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2 272
Long IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3-RSR 265
de Pourtales Kruse-Schiller Motorsport Lola B07/46-Mazda 261
Kox Aston Martin Racing Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 252
Monteiro Team Oreca Matmut AIM Oreca 01-AIM 219
Treluyer Pescarolo Sport Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 210
Moreau OAK Racing Pescarolo 01-Mazda 208
Bobbi Racing Box Lola B08/80-Judd 203
Neiman Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 997 GT3-RSR 194
Kralev Endurance Asia Team Porsche 997 GT3-RSR 186
Montanari Hankook Farnbacher Racing Ferrari F430 GT2 183
Moore Team LNT Ginetta-Zytek 09S 178
Luhr Audi Sport North America Audi R15 TDI 104
Peter GAC Racing Team Zytek 07S/2 102
GT2 Felbermayr Sr
Lecourt IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3-RSR 102
Goueslard Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R 99
Greaves Bruichladdich Bruneau Team Radical SR9-AER 91
Smith Quifel ASM Team Ginetta-Zytek 09S/2 46
Lietz Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 997 GT3-RSR 24
Apicella JLOC Isao Noritake Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT 1