Peugeot claimed a straightforward 1-2 finish in the Sebring 12 Hours, having taken command of the event from the start of unofficial testing. The No. 07 car of Alex Wurz, Anthony Davidson and Marc Gene took victory, just ahead of their team-mates Pedro Lamy, Sebastien Bourdais and Nicolas Minassian.
With Audi unable to gain Peugeot's dispensation to race at Sebring in a modified version of its 2009 car that did not quite fit the 2010 rules, the French squad was the only diesel entrant and was an overwhelming pre-race favorite. Sure enough, the two 908s ran 1-2 for most of the distance -- although they had some early scares from Drayson's Emanuele Pirro, who split the Peugeots for a while with a stunning opening stint charge.
Once Drayson had faded, Peugeot was able to relax and go into testing mode, trying various strategies with its two cars. The lead was swapped during pit sequences several times, before Wurz and Bourdais went into the final two hours just 2sec apart. Wurz managed to pull out a slight gap, but Bourdais was running longer to his final stop. He did not quite do enough to emerge in the lead though, and then a big spin on cold tires on his out-lap effectively ended his shot at the win.
"Our mission here was to validate a certain number of developments and we achieved that goal to the letter," declared team boss Olivier Quesnel. "Despite the absence of our main rival, I believe we put on a great show and team orders were only issued after the final pit stops, with half an hour remaining. It was quite tense, but also very instructive. Reliability promises to play a key role at Le Mans, and the two 908 HDi FAPs ran like clockwork here, and our refuelling work, race strategy and the work of the entire team were all very strong, too. We can be proud to have added a French victory to this race's roll of honor, and the 908 has now succeeded in winning all the main endurance races. It's a promising result, but we can't afford to take our eye off the ball..."
With Drayson ultimately delayed by alternator problems and damage from contact with Wurz in traffic, Aston Martin Racing had a very straightforward run to third place.
Highcroft looked assured of LMP2 honors until a wiring problem kept its HPD chassis in the pits for 10 laps with three hours to go. That left the team five laps down on new class leaders Cytosport Porsche and Klaus Graf, Sascha Maassen and Greg Pickett, and lacking time to do anything about closing the gap.
Dyson's hopes of LMP2 victory were very quickly dashed, its Lola-Mazda spending 80 minutes in the paddock early on having a misfire cured.
Risi Ferrari's Jaime Melo, Pierre Kaffer and Gianmaria Bruni ultimately ended up with a one-lap GT2 cushion over the two Rahal Letterman BMWs, which swapped places on the very last lap when Dirk Muller spun and allowed Dirk Werner through.
Rivals feared that Corvette would be untouchable, but it ruled itself out when its drivers collided in the pitlane as Jan Magnussen was waved out into the path of the sister car. No one was hurt in the dramatic incident, but time-consuming repairs were required.
A bizarre piece of misfortune wrecked Porsche's day too. Wolf Henzler put the Falken team into the lead at the start, before dropping back later. The car then shed its right rear wheel twice in quick succession, and on the second occasion the stray wheel clouted the Flying Lizard Porsche -- which had been fighting Risi for GT2 victory at the time -- as it passed the scene.
That damaged the Porsche's left rear corner, and four laps were lost as the rules did not permit the pits to reopen for repairs until the safety car had successfully collected the leaders -- which took an unusually long time on this occasion. Also making a dramatic exit was the No. 01 Extreme Speed Ferrari, which caught fire in the final stages while running fifth in class.
Level 5 Motorsports and Alex Job Racing took comfortable wins in the LMPC and GTC categories respectively. While Leh Keen, Juan Gonzalez and Butch Leitzinger led their Job teammates home in a team 1-2-3 and dominated the majority of the GTC race, LMPC was close-fought until mechanical problems delayed the No. 95 Level 5 car and the Green Earth Gunnar entry, and JR Hildebrand crashed Genoa's car. That left the way clear for Christophe Bouchut, Scott Tucker and Mark Wilkins to clinch the class victory by 16 laps in Level 5's No. 55 entry.
Pos Cl Drivers Car Time/Gap
1. P1 Gene/Wurz/Davidson Peugeot 12h00m54.362s
2. P1 Lamy/Bourdais/Minassian Peugeot + 13.817s
3. P1 Mucke/Primat/Fernandez Lola-Aston Martin + 3 laps
4. P2 Pickett/Graf/Maassen Porsche + 14 laps
5. P2 Brabham/Pagenaud/Franchitti HPD + 18 laps
6. GT2 Melo/Bruni/Kaffer Ferrari + 36 laps
7. GT2 Auberlen/Milner/Werner BMW + 37 laps
8. GT2 Muller/Hand/Priaulx BMW + 37 laps
9. GT2 Bergmeister/Long/Lieb Porsche + 38 laps
10. PC Tucker/Bouchut/Wilkins ORECA + 40 laps
11. GT2 Law/Neiman/Lietz Porsche + 42 laps
12. P1 Drayson/Cocker/Pirro Lola + 43 laps
13. GT2 Brown/Cosmo/Barbosa Ferrari + 44 laps
14. GT2 Krohn/Jonsson/van de Poele Ferrari + 46 laps
15. GT2 Magnussen/O'Connell/Garcia Corvette + 47 laps
16. GT2 Beretta/Gavin/Collard Corvette + 47 laps
17. PC Zugel/Jeannette/Julian ORECA + 56 laps
18. GTC Gonzalez/Leitzinger/Keen Porsche + 59 laps
19. GTC Sweedler/Kapudija/Lueders Porsche + 62 laps
20. GTC Gonzalez/Diaz/Kelly Porsche + 63 laps
21. P2 Dyson/Smith/Meyrick Lola-Mazda + 64 laps
22. GTC Rodriguez/Bieker/Friedman Porsche + 65 laps
23. GT2 Robertson/Robertson/Murry Doran Ford + 67 laps
24. GTC Lewis/Vento/Aschenbach Porsche + 68 laps
25. GTC Richard/Ende/Lally Porsche + 85 laps
26. PC Wallace/Sutherland/Hildebrand ORECA + 86 laps
27. GTC Curtis/Sofronas/Pilgrim Porsche + 87 laps
28. GT2 Sharp/van Overbeek/Farnbacher Ferrari + 96 laps
29. GT2 Sellers/Henzler/Pilet Porsche + 112 laps
30. PC Feinberg/Marcelli/Weickardt ORECA + 133 laps
31. PC Pagerey/Wong/Ducote ORECA + 135 laps
32. PC Tucker/Hunter-Reay/Gue ORECA + 143 laps
33. GT2 Gentilozzi/Goossens/Dalziel Jaguar + 356 laps
34. P1 Willman/Burgess/Ehret Lola + 367 laps