French manufacturer Peugeot has broken through to take it’s first Le Mans 24 hour race since 1993 and for the second time the name Brabham has gone into the record books.
The team of Marc Gene, Alex Wurz and Australia’s David Brabham led from early in the race holding on to win from the popular local team of Sebastian Bourdais, Stephane Sarrazin and Frank Montagny.
Audi who had dominated the race for the last decade had a tough weekend despite a finishing third.
Alan McNish, Dindo Cappello, and Tom Kristenson survived a number of mechanical problems to make it to the finish six laps down on the leader.
A number of incidents studded the race, the biggest being early in the morning involving Pescarollo Peugeot driver Benoit Treluyer. Treluyer crashed after taking over the car from Simon Pagenaud who pitted with smoke coming out of the car.
The Peugeot returned to the race after repair but Trulyer made it only as far as just after the Dunlop Bridge when his Peugeot left the road and struck the barrier at high-speed. The car was totally destroyed in the accident.
The driver was taken to hospital, shaken but without major injury.
Japanese driver Seiji Ara was also lucky to escape injury after his LMP2 Porsche Spyder had a big crash late in the rate heading into the playstation chicane on the fast Mulsanne straight.
LMP2 was won by the Team Essex Porsche Spyder of Casper Elgaard, Emmanuele Collard and Kristian Poulsen.
The small GT1 field was dominated by the Corvette team in their final ever GT1 appearence, Johnny O’Conell, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia taking the win from the privately entered Luc Alphand Adventures Corvette of Xavier Maassen, Julien Jousse & Yann Clairay.
O’Connell’s team-mate Sacha Massen led late in the race but mechanical failure cost him any chance.
GT2 was a Ferrari benefit with the Risi Competizioni car of Jamie Melo, Mika Salo and Pierre Kaffer taking the win.