Motor racing: Audi setback, Peugeot gain ground

17th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

LE MANS, France, June 17, 2007 (AFP) - Audi had a setback during the night of Saturday to Sunday in the Le Mans 24 Hours race when their leading car, driven by Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello, was forced to retire.

LE MANS, France, June 17, 2007 (AFP) - Audi had a setback during the night of Saturday to Sunday in the Le Mans 24 Hours race when their leading car, driven by Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello, was forced to retire.

Another Audi, with Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner at the wheel, were leading the race at 9am (0700GMT) on Sunday, with the Peugeot of Jacques Villeneuve, Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene four laps behind in second spot, and another Peugeot, driven by Sebastien Bourdais, Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy, six laps in arrears in third place.

The order changed shortly after 7:30am when, with Capello driving the leading Audi, the left rear wheel came off as he was negotiating the Indianapolis turn.

French manufacturer Peugeot are returning to Le Mans after a 14-year absence but their race got off to the worst possible start when Bourdais, a triple Champ Car champion in the United States, ran wide at the Dunlop Chicane on the first lap and allowed Capello to pass his Peugeot on the inside.

However Bourdais has grown more optimistic of Peugeot success. "The track is belonging to us," he said. "Times are getting worse. Audi seem to have a cushion but we think we have a chance. At about 4am I thought we were out of it, but now we shall wait and see.

"There is still some way to go and I prefer to have more moderate aims and hence will be pleasantly surprised."

The race finishes at 3pm (1300GMT).

Audi, looking for a seventh Le Mans win in eight years, also had their problems when their third car, with Mike Rockenfeller at the wheel, was forced to retire after hitting a barrier on the ninth lap.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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