Photo and report: Willem J. Staat
The works Peugeot Team managed to win the 1000 Kms of Francorchamps for the fifth time in succession since 2007. Though Audi occupied the first three places on the grid with the brand new R18 TDI, they were not concerned about the race. Immediately after the start Alan McNish went wide at Les Combes and spun. He dropped back 20 places but the combination McNish/Kristensen/Capello finally finished in an excellent 3rd position. The other brand new Audi’s struggled. Lotterer overshoot his pit at a regular stop and Marcel Fässler struggled with heavy rubber pick-up and even went off. Timo Bernhard had contact with another competitor in traffic and also lost valuable time. But the pace from Audi as well as Peugeot showed that this year’s Le Mans 24 Hrs. could become one of the best ever. Winner Anthony Davidson also warned that Spa certainly cannot be compared with Le Mans. In the LMP2 category the ORECA Nissans dominated and in LMGT2 the win went to Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni with the AF Corse Ferrari. In the opening stages they had a fantastic battle with the JMW Motorsport Ferrari from Rob Bell and James Walker. Especially in the LMGT2 class there were some fantastic battles between Ferrari, BMW and Porsche. Practice sessions on Thursday and Friday were overshadowed by heavy crashed with Mike Newton and Matthie Lahaye landing in hospital. Fortunately there injuries were not severe. Spa-Francorchamps als indicated that this year’s Le Mans will become a 24 Hrs Sprint between Audi and Peugeot!