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Peugeot wins Le Mans at last / New teams named for F1

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The 2009 winning team, Peugeot

The 2009 winning team, Peugeot

Well what a weekend it was for Peugeot, it just goes to show that all good things come to those who wait.  After three pole starts in two years the French team finally took glory at the national home of motor sports.

The world’s longest race kicked off at 15.00 CET with Frank Montagy in the lead.  Disaster struck the Peugeot team when two of their cars collided in the pits.  One of which had to be dragged back into the pits, wasting precious time.  A diagnostic revealed a broken fuel pump, potentially disasterous.

Peugeot take the chequered flag

Peugeot take the chequered flag

Further back the blue and orange Aston Martins made good time and looked in good position to move up the grid.  By the forth hour the Peugeots had consolidated their postions and things were looking good for the French team.

Aston Martin Racing her their eye on the prize

Aston Martin Racing her their eye on the prize

Disaster struck Audi when Lucus Luhn found out that colliding with a barrier is a convenient way of decellerating rapidly.   Luckily he wasn’t hurt, but it was a rather startling way to ruin a night’s sleep.

But the worst accident happened to Bernoit Traluyer, 32.  He wasn’t having the best of races when he pulled into the pits with smoke belching from the front left wing wheel arch.  He was there for four minutes while the mechanics worked away in a blur of elbows and spanners.  The radiator was cleaned, the nose cone was replaced and he was given the green light to go.  Desperate to make up time he rocketted out on to the track.  He had only been open for business a few moments when he car left the track just after the Dunlop arch.  The chassis was shattered but the cockpit remained intact.  Traluyer was treated at the scene and was whisked off to hospital, unconcious.  He was later revived and suffered no serious injuries, remarkably.

One of the Corvettes before it played chicken with a tyre barrier

One of the Corvettes before it played chicken with a tyre barrier

By hour 18 the two Peugeots were in the lead with the rest of the field trailing.  By hour 22 the Corvettes had had enough, and they slowly ground to a halt, trailing nuts and bolts.

As Peugeot closed on the finishing line drama ensued at the back.  Seiji Ara’s porsche Spyder had a dissagreement with a tyre barrier after underbraking, putting him out of commission.

A Porsche Spyder

A Porsche Spyder

And so Peugeot carried the day, taking a one-two victory.  As stated, it was a far from easy race.  After the first lap disaster they released one Peugeot directly into the path of another.  But things settled down, and is spite of acute exhaustion they managed to win the day.

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away in Paris the FIA announced the new teams that will be joining the F1 grid.  Firstly we have:

We expect great things from you boys

We expect great things from you boys

Firstly USF1.  This is a team we expect to see great things from.  With a history of home grown races in Daytona and Indianapolis and home to Ford and GMC, they could storm the track.  They will be building their own chassis in Charlotte, North Carloina and fitting them with red-blooded Cosworth engines.  I can hear that snarling motor now. THeir bosses will be the very capable technician Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor.  The latter is an Englishman and a former Journalis.  He is no stranger to danger, being the man in the car with Frank WIlliams when he had the accident that left him paralyzed.  He is an interesting character, and has won many awards for Journalism.  If he concentrates on management and lets Ken Anderson get on with the Engineering, they will work wonders.

 Adrian Campos

Adrian Campos

Secondly Campos Grand Prix.  This is a privateer team headed by former F1 driver Adrian Campos.  It is a client team of Italian engineering firm Dallara.  Their HQ will be in Madrid with their technical base in Valencia.  They are unusual in that they are making a jump directly from F3 to F1.  This doesn’t, in my opinion, sound like a receipe for success.  They are miles from FIA headquarters, miles from their manufacturer base, and split between Medrid and Valencia, severl hundred miles.  I hope they have deep pockets.

The third and final team is a bit of a curveball.  Manor Grand Prix, anyone?  They are a British team and a customer of Wirth Research engineering.  They have experience in Formula 3 and Formula Renault and.. well, thats it.  They are owned by John Booth and their technical director will be Nick Wirth, CEO of Wirth Research.  This is the former technical director of Simtek engineering, made infamous by the death of Roland Ratzenberger.

Five teams, McLaren, Toyota, Renault, BMW and Brawn, have submitted conditional entries.  If these conditions are not dropped, by 19 June 2009, their entries will be revoked.  And if that is the case other teams, such as Prodrive, iSport and Del Trotter racing may have to make up the numbers.  Once again we wait with bated breath.  And who said F1 was boring?


Written by Nick Gilmartin

June 14, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Motorsport

Tagged with , , , ,

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