Minassian / Gene / Villeneuve take the spoils at Spa with the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

Minassian / Gene / Villeneuve take the spoils at Spa with the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

12.05.2008: Minassian / Gene / Villeneuve take the spoils at Spa with the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP


Just like the first two rounds of the 2008 Le Mans Series, the 1,000km de Spa-Francorchamps turned out to be yet another fiercely-disputed, drama-filled race. The result saw Team Peugeot Total claim its third success from three starts without suffering the slightest technical problem. Nicolas Minassian, Marc Gené and Jacques Villeneuve shared the winning N°7 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, but the team's other car crashed out shortly after the two-hour mark.

The Belgian Ardennes were bathed in glorious summer sunshine throughout the weekend and an impressive crowd of 35,000 spectators turned out to watch the 42 starters begin the race behind the Safety Car following an off by a competitor during the formation lap.

When the cars were finally unleashed, Pedro Lamy got away cleanly with the N°8 908 HDi FAP N°8 and soon started to pull clear of his chasers, putting five seconds between his Peugeot and the Audi R10 of McNish who was coming under pressure from Nicolas Minassian in the other 908 HDi FAP. The scrap between the two began in earnest on Lap 21 and ended in a virile clash on Lap 35 during which neither driver was prepared to give way and both were forced to take to the grass through Combes.

The last word went to Nicolas Minassian, however, which left the two Peugeots lapping in first and second places for the rest of their double-stint. The first driver changes on Lap 44 saw Villeneuve take over from Minassian, but the N°8 car dropped 35 seconds in the pits when the engine was accidentally switched off with Wurz on board. The Austrian re-joined in third place behind Capello's Audi and began to push hard to make up the gap which was closed on Lap 56.

As Wurz came up to pass a Spyker, however, the two cars touched and the Austrian crashed hard in a tyre wall, taking with him the hapless Capello who was able to re-join, albeit with a damaged car. "It all happened so quickly," explained Alexander Wurz.

"I was pulling back in front of the Spyker when the rear right of my car hit it, and that sent me into a spin. I couldn't avoid hitting the Audi and I would like apologise for that, just as I would like to say sorry to everyone at Peugeot whose excellent work had given us a fantastic car."

Jacques Villeneuve handed over to Marc Gené who went on to post the fastest race lap before the Spaniard handed back over to Nicolas Minassian, as the three drivers took turns to head the field without suffering the slightest technical or strategic problem.

In the Drivers' standings, Minassian/Gené now top the standings, equal with Rockenfeller/Prémat, while Peugeot has lost its advantage in the Manufacturers' table to Audi by two points.

Jacques VILLENEUVE: "I thoroughly enjoyed the race. We had a good fight and the three of us did a good job together. The weekend was excellent preparation for the Le Mans 24 Hours and it was also very nice to win a race again. My last victory dated back to the 1997 Luxemburg Grand Prix!"

Nicolas MINASSIAN: "I suffered quite badly with oversteer during my first stint but everything returned to normal once new tyres were fitted and I had a great scrap with McNish. I left my braking as late as possible, and he braked even later, and we both end up crossing the grass. It was close, but perfectly fair and square! I spent the rest of the race enjoying the afternoon with my two teammates."

Marc GENE: "'Nico' did most of the work. It's a good result in championship terms and I'm delighted that the team brought in Jacques for this race to help us prepare for Le Mans."

Michel BARGE: "Peugeot has kept up its unbeaten run in the Le Mans Series and we were also pleased that we chose to use Spa to prepare for Le Mans by entering three-drivers for both cars. That doesn't necessarily mean we are perfectly ready for Le Mans; we still have a great deal of work to do, especially following the accident of the N°8 car. Unfortunately, that's racing. Mixing cars of differing performance levels is one of the draws of this discipline, but it's also its biggest difficulty."

Bruno FAMIN: "We didn't have any technical problems whatsoever. The engine cut on the N°8 car following an erroneous manoeuvre during the driver change. The N°8 car's crash has obviously made life more complicated for us, but it isn't the first challenge we have had to rise to!"


12:53 1 7 and 8 Race start behind the Safety Car after the N°46 car went off during the formation lap.

12:57 2 7 and 8 Re-start: the N°8 908 leads ahead of the N°1 Audi and the N°7 908.

13:02 3 7 Battle between McNish and Minassian: Minassian makes a mistake at La Source and loses six seconds.

13:38 21 7 and 8 Fuel and tyres.

14:02 32 7 Minassian attempts to pass McNish round the outside through Combes. The two cars go off into the grass. Minassian moves into second place.

14:27 44 7 and 8 Fuel and tyres. Driver changes: Wurz takes over N°8 and Villeneuve takes over N°7. The N°8 car loses 35s after the engine is switched off, leaving the N°7 car in the lead.

14:34 46 7 and 8 Safety Car.

14:47 51 7 and 8 Re-start.

14:58 56 8 Wurz crashes heavily following a tangle through Fagnes. Safety Car.

15:01 58 7 Fuel.

15:17 63 7 Re-start.

15:37 72 7 Safety Car.

15:43 75 7 Fuel. Driver change (Gené).

15:50 77 7 Re-start.

15:54 79 7 Gené posts the fastest race lap (1m 59.883s).

16:33 98 7 Fuel and tyres.

17:22 121 7 Fuel and tyres. Driver change (Minassian).

17:55 136 7 Safety Car.

18:03 139 7 Re-start. Minassian leads by 13s ahead of Prémat (N°2).

18:12 143 7 Victory for the N°7 Peugeot 908 (Minassian/Gené/Villeneuve).


1,000km de Spa – final positions:

1, Minassian/Gené/Villeneuve Peugeot 908 HDi FAP
   (143 laps in 5h 17m 48.566s)
2, Rockenfeller/Prémat Audi R10 (+30.387s)
3, Panis/Lapierre Courage Oreca (+3 laps)
4, Capello/McNish Audi R10 (+4 laps)
5, Collard/Boullion Pescarolo (+4 laps)

Fastest race lap: Marc Gené (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP), 1m 59.883s (average: 210.295kph)

Manufacturers' Championship:

1, Audi 37 points
2, Peugeot 35 points
3, Pescarolo 21 points

Drivers' Championship:

1 Minassian/Gené 24 points
   Rockenfeller/Prémat 24 points
3 Primat/Tinseau 12 points
   McNish/Capello 12 points
5, Sarrazin/Lamy 11 points


Le Mans 24 Hours
Test day: June 1, 2008
Race: June 14-15, 2008
Le Mans Series Nürburgring: August 16-17, 2008


- Cécile Estenave -
More photos on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS - LE MANS SERIES

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/lms-peugeot-908-hdi-fap-minassian-gene-villeneuves-jacques-spa-total-team-photos---37393.html

12.05.2008 / MaP

More News

Van Merksteijn Motorsport claims victory at Spa
copyright Van Merksteijn Motorsport The team Van Merksteijn Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur and its drivers, Jos Vestappen and Peter van Merksteijn, claimed victory in the LMP2 class in the third season round of the Le Mans Series at Spa-Francorchamps. In front of 35,000 spectators, a more >>
Zweiter Dreifachsieg des Porsche RS Spyder in Folge
Le Mans Series, 3. Lauf in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgien  Die Porsche-Kundenteams fahren in der europäischen Le Mans Series (LMS) von Erfolg zu Erfolg. Der dritte Lauf endete wie zuletzt in Monza mit einem Dreifachsieg für den Porsche RS Spyder in der hart umkämpften LMP2-K more >>
Une panne d’essence coute la troisième place du championnat pilotes à Primat et Tinseau
La troisième manche du championnat Le Mans Series 2008 n’a pas porté chance à Harold Primat et Christophe Tinseau, leur Pescarolo 01-Judd tombant en panne d’essence lors du dernier tour de la course de 1000km qui se déroulait aujourd’hui à Spa-Francorchamps. Le genevois Primat et son équipie more >>
Stefan Mücke in Spa-Francorchamps wegen Defekt an Lichtmaschine zurückgefallen
Mit einer Enttäuschung endete für den Berliner Sportwagenpiloten Stefan Mücke am Sonntagabend (11. Mai) der 3. Lauf der Le Mans Series (LMS) im belgischen Spa-Francorchamps. Im offenen Sportwagen-Prototypen Lola – Aston Martin des tschechischen Teams Charouz Racing System belegte er zusammen more >>
All good things come in threes: third pole in a row for Van Merksteijn Motorsport
For the third time this season, the purple and white Porsche RS Spyder run by Van Merksteijn Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur will be starting from pole position in the LMP2 category in a round of the Le Mans Series. At the 7.004 kilometres long circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, Jos Verstappen more >>
Harold Primat: Le Mans Series, Spa 1000kms preview
A superb podium finish for Harold Primat and Christophe Tinseau in the last round of the Le Mans Series at Monza has left the Pescarolo Sport duo lying fourth overall in the championship and the best-placed petrol-powered car heading to round 3 at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. With confidence already high, the pair’s Pescarolo 01-Judd gets a new aero package for the trip to Bel more >>
"Home race" for Van Merksteijn Motorsport with Porsche RS Spyder at Spa-Francorchamps
This weekend, the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in the Belgian Ardennes region will be hosting the third season round of the Le Mans Series. For Dutch team, Van Merksteijn Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur the race at the Belgian Grand Prix circuit is some kind of home event, during whic more >>
Stefan Mücke zuversichtlich vor 3. LMS-Lauf in Spa-Francorchamps
– „Wir wollen wieder bester Benziner sein" – Familie drückt live vor Ort die Daumen   Der Berliner Sportwagenpilot Stefan Mücke will beim dritten Lauf der Le Mans Series (LMS) am kommenden Wochenende (9. bis 11. Mai) im belgischen Spa-Franc more >>
Porsche RS Spyder feiert Premiere auf Ardennen-Kurs
Le Mans Series, 3. Lauf in Spa-Franchorchamps Ohne Atempause geht es für die erfolgreichen Porsche-Kundenteams in der Le Mans Series (LMS) weiter. Nach dem bejubelten Dreifachsieg für den Porsche RS Spyder in Monza sind die Erwartungen an den dritten Saisonlauf h more >>
Team Trading Performance : What a let-down after so much effort!
Team Trading Performance, Zytek07S-Zytek #41 (Gosselin/Schroyen/Ojjeh) Le Mans Series, 1000 km of Monza - April 27th 2008 The second round in the Le Mans Series was held at the Monza circuit, in Italy. The Swiss team, Trading Performance, has done a lot of development work on its Zytek 07S LM P2 prototype, and until Saturday its three drivers were ve more >>
Des bonnes nouvelles de Stéphane Ortelli après son crash à Monza
Bonjour ou bonsoir à tous ! D'abord, Stéphane vous remercie du fond du coeur pour les dizaines de messages que vous lui avez envoyé depuis hier, sur le site, dans sa boite e-mail, sur son téléphone, etc. Ca lui a fait beaucoup de bien de savoir que vous étiez aussi proches dans un moment pareil, et même s'il n'aura pas forcément le temps de répondre au tél more >>
Tabellenführung für Pierre Ehret nach Platz zwei in Monza
2. Lauf Le Mans Series, Monza (25. bis 27. April 2008) Mit dem zweiten Platz in der GT2-Klasse haben Pierre Ehret und sein Teamkollege Pierre Kaffer nach dem 2. Lauf der Le Mans Series in Monza die Tabellenführung in der Meisterschaft übernommen! Im Team von Farnbacher Racing s more >>
Monza misfortune for Rob Bell
Rob Bell and the Virgo Motorsport team completed the second round of the 2008 Le Mans Series in Monza, Italy on Sunday. After taking a superb pole position during qualifying on Saturday, a series of punctures during the race caused the no.96 Ferrari 430 GT2 to retire whilst running in a strong fourth place with Bell’s team mate Gianmaria Bruni at the wheel. The weekend go more >>
Stefan Mücke mit Superzeiten beim 2. LMS-Lauf in Monza
– In Führung liegend wegen Elektronikproblemen zurückgeworfen – „Wir können vorn mithalten"  Mit Superzeiten und jede Menge Führungskilometer hat der Berliner Sportwagenpilot Stefan Mücke am Sonntag (27. April) beim zweiten Lauf der Le Mans Series im italienischen Monza für Furore gesorgt. Am Ende des 1000-Kilometer-Rennens über sechs Stunden w more >>
Thrilling podium finish for Primat and Tinseau at Monza
Harold Primat and Christophe Tinseau took a superb last-gasp podium finish in a thrilling race at round 2 of the Le Mans Series in Monza, after a stunning drive by the Pescarolo Sport duo. In an action-packed 1000km race, Tinseau passed the Creation CA07 of Stuart Hall on more >>
Second place for Van Merksteijn Motorsport after great recovery in Monza
A great recovery resulted into second place for the team Van Merksteijn Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur in the second season round of the Le Mans Series at the circuit of Monza. Jos Verstappen and Peter van Merksteijn, who started from pole position in the LMP2 class and le more >>
Hideki Noda Monza review
Having had a difficult couple of days leading into the race the warm up session driven by Hideki’s team mate Jean de Pourtales gave the impression that the car was working a lot better than yesterday and the lap times seemed very stable, maybe not showing the absolute speed the team would like to see from the Lola-Mazda package but very stable and consistent lap times to start a more >>
Audi Youngster übernehmen Führung in der LMS
- Prémat/Rockenfeller Zweite in Monza - Umstrittene Kollision kostet möglichen Sieg - Capello/McNish trotz Unfalls in den Punkterängen Mit einem zweiten Platz beim 1000-Kilometer-Rennen in Monza (Italien) haben die beiden Audi Piloten Mike more >>
A thrilling sprint finish ends in victory for Peugeot's Lamy / Sarrazin
LE MANS SERIES: 1,000KM DI MONZA RACE (April 27, 2008) The outcome of the 1,000km di Monza, second round of the 2008 Le Mans Series, was only decided at the end of the thrilling final 20 laps which saw Pedro Lamy first past the chequered flag with the N°8 908 HDi more >>
2001-2022 copyright automobilsport.com