24 Hours of Le Mans 2011 : The Peugeots gave their all !
Never before has the world greatest endurance race witnessed such a sustained level of intensity. Team Peugeot Total and its nine drivers fought right to the bitter end, finishing the final sprint to the line just thirteen seconds adrift of the winners. Second-placed driver team Pagenaud-Bourdais-Lamy finished ahead of Minassian-Montagny-Sarrazin (Peugeot no.8) and Davidson-Gené-Wurz (no.7). The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP Oreca finished as the leading privatelysponsored car.
As the end of the draws race near, the rain becomes heavier at 12:20. The driver team of the Peugeot no.8 make the bold step of fitting intermediate tyres whilst all the other cars are still on slick tyres. Simon Pagenaud stays out on slick tyres in the no.9, continuing to take plenty of risks, helping him to make up ground on the leader, Lotterer (Audi no.2).
As the showers become heavier, Simon Pagenaud seems to the one coping best with the difficult grip conditions.
In the space of a few laps, the Peugeot no.9 driver managed to make up almost a minute on the leading Audi.
The lap times of the two frontrunners then become more or less the same as the track dries out. With 1.5 hours to go, the two drivers are separated by only 15 seconds.
The tension is palpable with an hour of the race left. It was all going to come down to the last pit stop.
The Audi stop at 14:06, Lotterer having to come into the pits whilst Simon Pagenaud continues to rack up lap times of around 3’28”. The Audi no.2 and the Peugeot no.9 then come in for their final stop at the same time, but the leading Audi heads back out on track with new tyres. Only eight seconds separate the two men with 30 minutes to go in this edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Simon Pagenaud goes all out for glory, but he misses out on the win by just 13 seconds, which goes to the Audi no.2. The first two cars were on the same lap for the entire 24 Hours.
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