Peugeot claimed a narrow victory in the final round of the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at Zhuhai in China.
Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin triumphed in a thrilling 1000km event that could have been won by either the Peugeot 908 HDi or the Audi R15 TDI driven by Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish.
The former crew came out on top in controversial circumstances after the second Peugeot with Sebastien Bourdais at the wheel appeared to deliberately back up Kristensen while Sarrazin was in the pits for the final time.
It was unclear whether or not Sarrazin would make it out of pits in front of Kristensen, but a slow lap by the delayed Bourdais with the Audi on his tail was crucial in allowing the winning Peugeot to exit the pits in the lead. Bourdais then kept Kristensen behind him until the winning Peugeot was five seconds up the road.
McNish described Peugeot's tactics as a "bitter pill to take at the end of a great season of racing." He also criticized a chaotic late-race safety-car period that resulted in Sarrazin's deficit to the Audi coming down from more than half a minute to just 12 seconds.
Bourdais and teammate Simon Pagenaud looked odds-on to win at Zhuhai until the incident that brought out the safety car. Bourdais tangled with the Felbermayr-Proton Porsche driven by Martin Ragginger with 44 laps to go, resulting in rear-end damage that required three laps to repair.
The Peugeot was running second, 16sec behind Kristensen, at the time, but would almost certainly have moved to the front because Bourdais and Pagenaud were on a conservative fuel strategy that would have resulted in the car making one pit stop fewer than its rivals.
Bourdais' incident meant he and Pagenaud finished down in fourth behind the second Audi driven by Rinaldo Capello and Romain Dumas, which was running a different setup to the second-placed Audi.
The OAK Racing Pescarolo finished fifth and first in LMP2 after a run interrupted only by braking issues late in the race. The Porsche 911 GT3-R Hybrid driven by Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long ended up sixth ahead of all the GT2 runners.
The Schnitzer BMW team ended a difficult season in Le Mans-rules racing on a high. Jorg Muller and Dirk Werner claimed a clear GT2 class victory aboard the team's solo M3.
Pos Cl Drivers Car Time/Gap
1. LMP1 Montagny/Sarrazin Peugeot 5h35m39.053s
2. LMP1 Kristensen/McNish Audi + 4.826s
3. LMP1 Capello/Dumas Audi + 49.302s
4. LMP1 Bourdais/Pagenaud Peugeot + 3 laps
5. LMP2 Nicolet/da Rocha/Lafargue Pescarolo-Judd + 26 laps
6. GTH Bergmeister/Long Porsche Hybrid + 27 laps
7. GT2 Muller/Werner BMW + 30 laps
8. GT2 Lieb/Lietz Porsche + 30 laps
9. FLM Zacchia/Zhang/Lee ORECA + 31 laps
10. GT2 Bruni/Vilander/Melo Ferrari + 33 laps
11. GT2 Ragginger/Ried/Roda Porsche + 40 laps
12. GTC Lee/Yoong/Marsh Audi + 40 laps
13. GT2 Ehret/Quaife/Kirkaldy Ferrari + 41 laps
14. LMP1 Mitsuyama/Wakisaka Courage ORECA YGK + 42 laps
15. GT2 Giroix/Goethe Lamborghini + 45 laps
16. GTC Ma/Beche Aston Martin + 60 laps
17. GTC Richard/Li Audi + 61 laps
18. GT1 Bornhauser/Groppi/Lamy Saleen + 62 laps
LMP1 Drayson/Cocker Lola-Judd 141 laps
GTC Watts/Meins/Yu Audi 168 laps
GT2 Westbrook/O'Young Porsche 119 laps
GT1 Iiri/Sekiguchi/Yuya Lamborghini 10 laps
GT2 Goossens/Gentilozzi Jaguar 10 laps