Peugeot Fastest at Le Mans – In a day ruled by wet weather and immense crashes, Peugeot’s Pedro Lamy picked the perfect time between showers on a dried track to post a fast lap of 3:22.222 that left everyone in the paddock, barring Peugeot, completely stunned.
Driving the #8 Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP, Lamy clocked his time in the afternoon; the lap would hold until the end of the day, with the #7 Peugeot a staggering 4.418 seconds behind in second place. Audi’s veteran trio of Biela/Pirro/Werner would settle for third fastest, 4.456 behind Lamy.
Best of the non-diesel LMP1 cars went to the sixth and seventh overall fastest cars belonging to Pescarolo Sport. The #17 Pescarolo-Judd of Primat/Tinseua/Truleyer could do no better than a lap of 3:33.939, or 11.7 seconds behind the #8 Peugeot.
The rest of the LMP1 field spent portions of the day sorting various issues and working on wet weather setups. Most promising of the bunch was the ORECA-Judd, and updated version of the popular Courage chassis that Hugh de Chaunac’s ORECA effort purchases late in 2007. The ORECA will likely vie with Pescarolo for the best petrol-powered P1 finishing position.
Making its proper Le Mans debut, the new Dome-Judd S102 set the 11th fastest P1 time with the all-Japanese designed/built/crewed/driven machine. The S102, reckoned to have the greatest aerodynamic potential of all the non-diesels, logged fifty six laps in an effort to overcome a variety of issues. Turning only twenty five laps—the fewest of all LMP1 entrants, the factory run Lola-Aston Martin of Charouz Racing System posted the 9th fastest lap of the day, albeit 14.2 seconds off Lamy’s flyer.
To no one’s surprise, LMP2 was headed by both Porsche RS Spyders, with the all-Dutch Van Merksteijn Motorsport squad out pacing the Spyder of Team Essex. Van Merksteijn’s 3.42.191 served as the fourteenth fastest time overall, ahead of eight LMP1 cars. Where the top five P1 cars were separated by a wide margin, P2’s top five were within two and a half seconds of one another. Third through fifth in P2 went to Barazi-Epsilon’s Zytek 07S, Embassy Racing’s impressive WF01-Zytek, and the well sorted Lola-MG of RML.
The gulf-liveried Aston Martin DBR9’s book-ended GT1, with the 2007 GT1-winning #009 of Brabham/Garcia/Tuner fastest at 3:53.531, and the 007 of Frentzen/Piccini/Wendlinger in fifth at 3:58.817.
Larbre Competition, swapping their Astons of ’07 for Saleens this year, was a surprising second fastest in GT1 in the hands of lead driver Christophe Bouchut. The French team hovered near the top of the class all day, affirming their ability to extract speed from the American supercar in changing conditions.
The yellow Corvette C6.R’s finished third and fourth fastest, with the #64 of Gavin/Beretta/Papis .357 ahead of the #63 of Fellows/O’Connell/Magnussen.
Outside of the Aston Martins, Corvettes, and the lone Saleen, IPB Spartak Racing’s Lamborghini Murcielago is the only other marque competing at Le Mans this year. Ex-Aston pilot Peter Kox set the ninth fastest time of the ten cars entered, almost ten seconds adrift from the 009 DBR9.
The battle for GT2 honors could likely provide the most intense fight during the 24 hour race. Risi Ferrari’s 2007 ALMS champions Jaime Melo and Mika Salo just clawed ahead of rival ALMS team Flying Lizard, setting a time of, only .029 seconds faster than the Californian team’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR was capable of. GT2 appears to be a classic fight between Porsche and Ferrari once again, with interlopers Spyker adding to the mix in their beautifully presented but not overly competitive C8 Laviolette’s that held up the bottom of the day’s time sheets.
2007 Le Mans GT2 champions IMSA Performance, using the same driver lineup in 2008, was a surprising 5.3 seconds off Melo’s best time. Of the major shunts, Tracy Krohn, destroyed the right rear corner of his Risi Ferrari at the mid-point of the test day, and was sent to the hospital for further inspection.
The most spectacular crash of the day came as Marc Gene Peugeot’s swapped ends in the fast and sweeping Porsche Curves, flipping his 908 after contacting the guardrail in mid-air, ultimately coming to rest on its wheels. The 908’s chassis was destroyed in the impact, and Gene, while complaining of pain in a toe and his right elbow, is expected to race in the 24 hour event.
Milwaukee Mile IRL Results – Ryan Briscoe–who drew Danica Patrick’s ire after taking her out of last weekend’s Indianapolis 500–showed Sunday that he’s a fine replacement for Sam Hornish Jr. at Penske Racing’s IndyCar Series team.
Briscoe held back Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon for his first series victory, winning the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile.
The race ended under caution because of a big crash that started with Ed Carpenter and pole sitter Marco Andretti making contact in the second turn with less than three laps to go. Vitor Meira and rookie Hideki Mutoh were the next cars through the crash site, and Meira launched into the air after contact with Andretti. Briscoe and Dixon were the next two cars through the scene, but they escaped without damage.
The race had only one other accident, with No. 2 starter Graham Rahal hitting the fourth-turn wall while trying to pass a backmarker. It was the second week in a row Rahal ran wide into the wall in similar circumstances. He was not injured in the crash.
ABC SUPPLY/A.J. FOYT 225 TOP TEN FINISHERS
1. Ryan Briscoe
2. Scott Dixon
3. Tony Kanaan
4. Dan Wheldon
5. Helio Castroneves
6. Oriol Servia
7. Justin Wilson
8. EJ Viso
9. Danica Patrick
10. Buddy Rice
Former F1 Driver Scott Speed Wins Dover Truck Race – Series rookie and ex-Formula One driver Scott Speed led the final 50 laps of the AAA Insurance NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 200 at Dover International Speedway. He is the series’ third consecutive first-time winner, after Matt Crafton two weeks ago at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Donny Lia last weekend at Mansfield. It was only Speed’s sixth Craftsman Truck Series start and the first-ever NASCAR points win for Team Red Bull.
Speed took the lead from Todd Bodine on lap 150 and easily led the rest of the way. He beat Jack Sprague, Ron Hornaday Jr., Travis Kvapil, Crafton, David Starr, pole-winner Mike Skinner, Colin Braun, Rick Crawford and Johnny Benson.
Other lap-leaders were Kyle Busch (1-96 before transmission problems), Hornaday (97-132), Terry Cook (133-134) and Bodine (135-149).
Hornaday, Sprague, Ted Musgrave, Kyle Busch and Skinner were fastest in the series’ first practice session on Thursday. Top-five runners in Thursday’s second session were Skinner, Busch, Hornaday, Speed, and Musgrave.
The top 10 qualifiers were Skinner, Benson, Busch, Speed, Hornaday, Sprague, Justin Marks, Lia, Musgrave and Braun.