Team Peugeot Total kicked off its 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup campaign by winning the first race to count towards the newly-created series. The entire squad was eager to score this win, which was combined with second place for the Oreca-run Peugeot 908 HDi FAP.
After posting the fastest time in the morning warm-up session on Sunday, British driver Anthony Davidson was tasked with starting the race at the wheel of the N?1 factory Peugeot. He was in a confident mood in front of his home fans, including more than 3000 guests of Peugeot UK. Starting in third position on the grid, he succeeded in overtaking the second place Audi (driven by Bernhard) before the first corner and started to chase down the lead Audi driven by Allan McNish.
The superiority of the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP meant it was only a matter of time before it overtook the Audi and moved into the first position.
On lap 9 Anthony passed the Audi and immediately pulled away. He started what became a solitary run all the way to the checkered flag. The faultless performance of the two Peugeot drivers was helped by slick pit work and by the outstanding performance of their Michelin tires, which permitted them to complete double stints without any fall-off at all in performance. Anthony Davidson and Nicolas Minassian completed the 1000km in a little more than five hours to give the 908 its 17th win.
Anthony Davidson: "I thoroughly enjoyed myself during the early part of the race for two reasons: it was the first time I had been given the task of starting in the Peugeot, and because it was such an exciting scrap. It's a shame McNish left me on my own! Today's result is a great way to kick off the championship for Peugeot."
Peugeot also pocketed points for second place thanks to the team Oreca Peugeot 908 HDi FAP.
In the hands of Stephane Sarrazin and Nicolas Lapierre, the Oreca Peugeot 908 HDi FAP succeeded in clinching the 2010 Le Mans Series title for Peugeot, as well as the Drivers' crown for Stephane Sarrazin for the second time in his career following his first in 2007.
Silverstone ended up being an extremely successful weekend for Peugeot, which has every intention of targeting a similar result in the next two rounds of the ILMC at Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans) on October 2, and in Zhuhai (China) on November 7, for which the team has entered two factory cars.
At the same Silverstone race, Timo Bernhard and Dindo Capello finished third in the Audi R15 TDI. A differential failure on the sister car driven by Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish after just 15 laps prevented a better result, despite a strong qualifying performance with grid positions one and two.
In front of a crowd of 40,000 spectators McNish took the lead after starting from the pole position. He fought a spectacular duel with the subsequent winner Anthony Davidson in the Peugeot before the R15 TDI coasted on the track without drive. It was the first retirement due to a technical failure since the launch of the R15 project, and the first for Audi Sport Team Joest in more than four years.
The unusual differential defect affected the race of Timo Bernhard and Dindo Capello as well. Because the team did not want to take any risks with the tire strategy with one remaining car, the tires of the second R15 TDI were changed at the first refueling stop to be on the safe side. This caused Bernhard/Capello to lose contact with the leading Peugeot that was driving two stints on one set of tires from the outset.
In addition, unusually heavy understeer caused the gap to the leading Peugeot to increase to slightly more than one minute by the end of the first half of the race. In the second half Bernhard/Capello were able to keep the pace of the front runners and to even reduce the gap to about 50 seconds. However, an additional refueling stop three laps before the finish resulted in third place for the German-Italian duo.
2010 Autosport 1000km of Silverstone:
1. Peugeot 908 HDi FAP (Minassian/Davidson), 170 laps
2. Peugeot 908 HDi FAP-Oreca (Sarrazin/Lapierre), +42.920sec
3. Audi R15 TDI (Bernhard/Capello), +1m46.357s
4. Aston Martin (Barazi/Mucke/Hancock), +3 laps 5. Lola (Prost/Jani), +5 laps
2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup
1. PEUGEOT (47 points)
2. AUDI (21 points)
1. Team Peugeot Total (25 points)
2. Team Oreca Matmut (22 points)
3. Audi Sport Team (21 points)
4. Drayson Racing (15 points)