Simon Pagenaud and Sebastien Bourdais delivered Peugeot the AUTOSPORT 6 Hours of Silverstone crown after a race-long battle with the No. 1 Audi. The pole-sitting 908 was in contention for victory throughout the race, as accidents, traffic and damage proved decisive in another engrossing instalment of the Peugeot/Audi battle.
The race swung several times in a breathtaking first hour, with the No. 2 Audi snatching an early lead ahead of the No. 7 and No. 8 Peugeots and sister No. 1 R18, with around four seconds covering the quarter.
With so little to choose between the four, traffic offered a chance for breathing space and overtaking was therefore aggressive. It would also prove a downfall. First victim was Franck Montagny, who cut across a backmarker too early at Copse and was tagged into a spin into the barriers. The error caused heavy damage and a lengthy spell before the car was recovered, dropping the No. 8 908 out of contention.
Shortly after Allan McNish in the lead Audi was caught out as he dived down the inside of the No. 66 JMW Ferrari at Becketts – a clash for which the Ferrari was, controversially, later punished. McNish broke his steering and faced a lengthy repair in the pits, the impact of which was lessened slightly by the race's only safety car when Jody Firth span from second in class into the pit wall in the No. 46 TDR ORECA-Nissan.
That left a straight fight between the Pagenaud/Bourdais Peugeot and the No. 1 Audi of Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fassler. Again there was little to separate the pair, with both taking spells at the front as the race wore on.
The deciding moment came when Bernhard had to pit with damage to his rear – and, crucially, to his legality boards. The Audi mechanics were superb, but a stop of around a minute proved too much to recover. They remained on the same lap but Bourdais and Pagenaud remained faultless, eventually claiming victory by just over a minute.
The No. 24 Oak Racing Pescarolo-Judd of Jacques Nicolet, Alexandre Premat and Olivier Pla rounded out the LMP1 podium after a long four-way battle with the sister No. 15 Oak and the two Rebellion Racing Lolas.
LMP2 was also influenced by damage, although eventual winners Karim Ojjeh and Tom Kimber-Smith in the No. 41 Greaves Nissan were rarely out of the top two. Victory was assured, however, when the No. 45 Boutsen ORECA-Nissan had to pit with 90 minutes to go with rear damage, while earlier the No. 26 Strakka HPD – which had also been a challenger – suffered from a stop of a similar nature.
GTE Pro was only decided at the flag, with seven cars on the lead lap heading into the final half-hour. The class win eventually went to the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 of Bruni Gianmaria and Giancarlo Fisichella, while second was claimed in the final minutes by Frederic Makowiecki and Stephane Ortelli in the No. 59 Luxury Racing Ferrari.
That demoted Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz in the No. 77 Felbermayr Porsche to third, while Andy Priaulx and Uwe Alzen recovered strongly to finish fourth in the No. 56 M3, both BMWs having slipped from the front of the grid after struggling with long-run grip.
Porsche took a 1-2 in the GTE Am category, the No. 67 IMSA 911 of Nicolas Armindo and Raymond Narac once again proving the class of the field as it won by over one lap.