Coming off of its decisive victory in the 1000K Le Mans Series race at Silverstone three weeks ago, Team Peugeot Total travels to North America for next week's 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta at the top of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup standings.
The Silverstone race, which was marked by an exciting duel between Anthony Davidson and Audi's Allan McNish, ended in a resounding 1-2 sweep for Peugeot thanks to the ORECA-run 908 HDi FAP. It also took the French marque straight into the lead of the ILMC with a 26-point advantage over its rival heading to Road Atlanta, which is also the season finale for the American Le Mans Series.
Anthony Davidson, Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz will share one Peugeot, while Pedro Lamy, Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin share the second 908.
"I am sure the racing will get closer and closer," predicts technical director Bruno Famin. "The duel we saw at Silverstone is likely to keep us holding our breath again at Road Atlanta, this time over a distance of 1,000 miles or perhaps 10 hours, because the races in the [ALMS] generally deliver plenty of drama. For one, the safety car and wheel change regulations are different, so we will need to be on our toes throughout and quick to adapt our strategy if necessary. It is this sort of training we have always sought to gain in the USA to prepare for Le Mans. This time around, with the race counting toward the ILMC, we will obviously also be targeting another win in order to extend our early lead."
The 2009 Petit Le Mans produced a 1-2 finish for Peugeot, but the race was shortened by several hours because of torrential rain. The two factory 908 HDi FAPs entered for this year's race will be looking to repeat that success against what promises to be stiff opposition from Audi's pair of Audi R15 TDIs, as well as the regular ALMS series racers.
Audi is eager to avenge a win that got away last October, when Audi led 161 of the 184 laps. Unfortunately for Capello – and teammate Allan McNish – the French marque led the last 13 laps. Capello, McNish and Tom Kristensen will try to help Audi gain a bit of revenge as part of a two-car effort with the diesel-powered Audi R15 TDI. Marcel Fassler, André Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer will share the other.
“For sure it's not so nice to finish a race under a red flag – especially in such a long race,” said Dindo Capello, who will share one of the R15s with Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen. “When they stopped the race, it was less than half of the 1,000 miles that we should have done. We had the lead for such a long time and got the red flag in the wrong moment.”