Pagenaud leads Peugeot to Spa win
Peugeot claimed a narrow victory in the Spa round of the Le Mans Series, when Simon Pagenaud, Nicolas Minassian and Christian Klien led the whole race. Yet the best of the 908 HDi turbodiesels only had 27 seconds in hand at the checkered flag courtesy of a sequence of safety cars.
The lead Pescarolo-Judd driven by Jean-Christophe Boullion and Christophe Tinseau finished second, but never looked like a contender for victory.
The second 908 ended up 13th after Peugeot debutant David Brabham brushed a slower car. The incident proved to be a double whammy: five laps were lost to rear suspension repairs and another two to a four-minute stop-go penalty for avoidable contact.
Pagenaud, who normally races for De Ferran Motorsport's Acura team in the American Le Mans Series, also claimed pole on his first race for Peugeot. After the race he described it as "the perfect weekend. I haven't had many weekends like this."
Tinseau claimed the runner-up spot from ORECA driver Nicolas Lapierre in the closing stages. The Pescarolo was closing on the second-placed car when Lapierre tangled with a slower car at Eau Rouge and spun.
This incident and a late stop under yellows dropped the AIM-engined ORECA, now in the hands of Olivier Panis, behind the lead Aston Martin Racing entry driven by Stefan Mucke, Jan Charouz and Tomas Enge, which had come through from the back of the grid.
The Danish Essex Porsche team claimed victory in a very close LMP2 battle ahead of the Speedy Sebah Lola-Judd. Prototype debutant Kristian Poulsen held on to take the win by six tenths of a second from Benjamin Leuenberger.
The Luc Alphand Aventures Chevrolet team overturned its defeat at the hands of the Reiter Lamborghini squad at the LMS opener at Barcelona to take GT1 honours. GT2 victory went to the lead Felbermayr Proton Porsche.
The race was interrupted by two major accidents involving LMP1 prototypes. Bruce Jouanny crashed the second Pescarolo-Judd when a wheel broke at the bottom of Eau Rouge and Bruno Senna lost control of the second ORECA at Blanchimont late in the race.