Wurz, Brabham and Gene win the Le Mans 24 Hours for Peugeot

Alexander Wurz, David Brabham and Marc Gene won at Le Mans

Alexander Wurz, David Brabham and Marc Gene won at Le Mans

Peugeot’s squad of three former F1 drivers claimed overall victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Alexander Wurz, David Brabham and Marc Gene led home a Peugeot one-two.

The French team resisted the temptation to swap the running order of its leading cars and promote the second-placed all-French (and all-F1) car of Sebastien Bourdais, Franck Montagny and Stepahne Sarrazin into the lead.

It marked the first time in ten years the race has been won by a three drivers who have competed in F1.

Peugeot returns to victory

Alexander Wurz scored his second win the French classic, adding to his 1996 triumph. Wurz made the most F1 starts of the trio, with Marc Gene starting 36 and David Brabham 24.

Brabham became the second member of his family to win the race outright – brother Geoff was part of the team that gave Peugeot its last win in the race, in 1993. David Brabham won the GT1 category in the previous two years, driving for Aston Martin. Both are, of course, the sons of three-times F1 champion Jack Brabham.

Peugeot’s first win at Le Mans in 16 years bookends a period in which it also made an unsuccessful foray into Formula 1. It joined McLaren as an engine supplier in 1994 but was dropped by the team at the end of the year. It supplied engines for Jordan from 1995-1997, then Alain Prost’s team for three years. After leaving F1 it enjoyed success in rallying, before starting a new Le Mans programme with its diesel-engined car in 2007.

Bourdais is the first active F1 driver to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours since Franck Montagny in 2006 – who also finished second on that occasion.

Class wins for Magnussen and Salo

Audi’s R15 provided the closest challenger to Peugeot, in the form of the number one car driven by ex-Toyota racer Allan McNish alongside Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello, which finished third.

The highest-placed of the new Aston Martins was the Tomas Enge/Stefan M?â??cke/Jan Charouz car which took fourth. The team is run by Prodrive, who submitted an entry for the 2010 F1 championship. Another of the cars piloted by ex-Super Aguri driver and BBC F1 commentator Anthony Davidson, along with Jos Verstappen and Darren Turner, finished 13th.

The LMGT1 category was won by the Corvette C6.R of another former F1 driver, Jan Magnussen, alongside Jonny O’Connell and Antonio Garcia. LMGT2 was won by the Risi Competizione Ferrari of Mika Salo – formerly a Ferrari F1 driver – Pierre Kaffer and Jaime Melo.

LMP2 was the only category won by three drivers without F1 credentials – the Porsche RS Spyder of Casper Elgaard, Kristian Poulsen and Emmanuel Collard.

But Marco Apicella and Narain Karthikeyan’s races ended before they began. Karthikeyan ruled himself out of the race by dislocating his shoulder while jumping over the pit wall in the moments before the start was given. Apicella’s Lamborghini managed just a single lap…

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38 comments on Wurz, Brabham and Gene win the Le Mans 24 Hours for Peugeot

  1. Choltz said on 15th June 2009, 2:33

    To bad Peugeot didn’t let the Montagny / Bourdais / Sarrazin car race to the finish, they had great pace, and when was the last time all drivers and the manufacture was from the same country, and from the host country at that!

    Surprised at the mistakes from the Audi drivers.

  2. DGR-F1 said on 15th June 2009, 8:25

    I liked the way the 908s got into formation for the flag, even though they were all on different laps, very creative! According to the commentary I had, the way the cars are run by ‘teams’ with teams meant that although Peugeot would have liked the all-French 08 car to overtake the 09 car, it would have been against the spirit of the sport to do so, and wasn’t even thought about. Unlike F1….
    And on the amazing Ferrari victory in GT2, the commentary did point out that Porsche had serious problems all weekend, which meant there were more F430s on the grid than anything else, so it would have been amazing if one didn’t win. A Spyker was third though!
    Well done to the Lola/Aston Martin team, keeping the brits in touch, and a sad goodbye to the works Corvettes….

  3. ninguen said on 15th June 2009, 22:51

    I´m very proud of Peugueot achivement with Gene, but it´s a pity that in Spain this have passed tottally unattended, he has been the first spanish to win the Le Mans and only footnotes, th Spanish moto GP, Gasol and the lakers and the omnipresent untill you puke Real Madrid has shadowed gené´s victory, and to add more, Antonio Garcia has won for the second time in a row in GT1 with Magnussen sick and doubling rounds, this is so sad.

    Next time you see a spanish journalist mouning about Alonso, ask him abaout Antonio Garcia, or Oriol serviá, and if he don´t know them give them a V-sign dedicated from spain (needless to say, that with two fingers he won´t understand, to add more)

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