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Sunday, June 15, 2008

The 24 hours of...F1?

Audi held off a strong Peugeot challenge to take its eighth win in nine years at the Circuit de la Sarthe, as F1’s veterans put on a strong showing in the world’s premier endurance event.

The Audi Sport North America car driven by Tom Kristenson, Rinaldo Capello, and Allan McNish took advantage of rain in the middle of the night to get past a faster Peugeot squad and win the LMP1 class.

Peugeot Sport’s Marc Gene, Nicolas Minassian and Jacques Villeneuve had built up a lead in the early part of the race, but the rain proved while the Peugeot 908s had the advantage in dry conditions, Audi’s R10 TDIs had it in the wet.

As the circuit dried in the morning hours, Peugeot closed the gap, but a gamble on tires and the return of rain in the final hour helped Audi take the overall win.

The second place Peugeot finished on the lead lap, oh so close for Villeneuve, the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and 1997 Formula One Champion who was aiming for his racing “Triple Crown.”

The Peugeot of Franck Montagny, Ricardo Zonta and Christian Klien finished third, two laps down.

The LMP2 class went to the Porsche RS Spyder of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter van Merksteijn and Jos Verstappen, while GT1 went to the Aston Martin of David Brabham, Darren Turner and Antonio Garcia. It was the second year in a row Aston Martin held off Corvette Racing, the race winner and the lead ‘Vette finishing on the same lap.

Mika Salo, Jaime Melo and Gimmi Bruni in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 Berlinetta GT took the GT2 win. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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