Saturday, March 19, 2011

Peugeot Wins 2011 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

Billed as the most open Sebring in years the 2011 edition certainly did not disappoint. An old car won the race, a gasoline powered entry finished second and the fastest car of the race only managed a third place finish. The privateer Oreca Matmut team running the Peugeot 908 HDI FAP won the 59th edition of America's top endurance race Saturday. Using a rule restricted version of the first generation 908 Oreca was not as quick as the brand new factory 908 but Nicolas Lapierre, Loic Duval, and Olivier Panis ran a clean race to take victory. In second place the brand new gasoline Highcroft Racing Honda piloted by David Brabham, Marino Franchitti, and Simon Pagenaud proved that the new ACO rules are fair by running competitive times compared to the diesels. In third the new Peugeot 908 driven by Frank Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin, and Pedro Lamy were only able to manage a third place finish even with the fastest race car on the track. A few minor track and pit stop mistakes were enough to neutralize the factory Peugeot. Along with the factory Peugeots Audi Sport Team Joest was the co-favorite to win the race, but on-track incidents relegated Audi to a fourth and fifth overall in a disappointing race. Two consecutive flat tires caused the number 1 Audi to lose numerous laps early in the race. A little later the number 2 Audi suffered damage when it was hit by the number 7 Peugeot causing both cars lengthy repairs.

In the tightly contested GT category the BMW Motorsport team of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller, and Andy Priaulx took victory along with tenths place overall. As usual in the past few years the GT division had close racing until the last few hours with numerous cars taking the lead with excellent passing. Throughout most of the race the top five in GT were separated by less than five seconds. The 55 BMW and 03 Corvette rounded out the GT podium.

In P2 the Lola Honda of Scott Tucker, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Luis Diaz took the honors. The Genoa Racing team of Jens Petersen, Dane Cameron and Michael Guasch won the Le Mans Prototype category along with ninth place overall. Black Swan Racing team of Tim Pappas, Damien Faulkner, and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen were victorious in the 911 GT3 Cup.

Below is the Sebring top ten . Also check out our hourly update post for detailed Sebring obvservations.

1. (5) Nicolas Lapierre, France; Loic Duval; Olivier Panis, France; Peugeot 908 HDI FAP (1, LMP1), 332.
2. (7) David Brabham, Maidenhead; Marino Franchitti, Edinburgh, Scotland; Simon Pagenaud, Montmorrillon; HPD ARX-01e (2, LMP1), 332.
3. (1) Franck Montagny, Grandvaux; Stephane Sarrazin, Ales; Pedro Lamy, Lisbon; Peugeot 908 (3, LMP1), 332.
4. (4) Allan McNish, Monte Carlo; Dindo Capello, Canelli; Tom Kristensen, Monte Carlo; Audi R15+ TDI (4, LMP1), 327.
5. (2) Mike Rockenfeller, Monte Carlo; Timo Bernhard, Dittweiler; Romain Dumas, Ales; Audi R15+ TDI (5, LMP1), 326.
6. (10) Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, Bracken, Yorkshire; Jay Cochran, Palm Beach, FL; Lola B09 86/Mazda (6, LMP1), 324.
7. (8) Neel Jani; Jeroen Bleekemolen, Monte Carlo, ; Nicolas Prost; Lola B10/60 Coupe (7, LMP1), 320.
8. (3) Alexander Wurz, Monte Carlo; Marc Gene, Barcelona; Anthony Davidson, Brackley, Northamptonshire; Peugeot 908 (8, LMP1), 315.
9. (12) Michael Guasch, Pleasant Hill, CA; Jens Petersen, Dusseldorf; Dane Cameron, Sonoma, CA; Oreca FLM09 (1, LMPC), 312.
10. (25) Dirk Mueller, Monte Carlo; Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; Andy Priaulx; BMW M3 GT (1, GT), 312.

See the rest of the finishers here along with race details.

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