Peugeot at the 2011 Petit Le Mans at Road AtlantaEnlarge Photo
As has been the case in most years, the race came down to a battle between Peugeot and Audi but in the end it was the French automaker that managed to capitalize, taking out both first and second place on the podium.
After a bit of controversy, the LMP1-class Peugeot 908 turbodiesel driven by Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin, and Alexander Wurz eventually took the checkered flag.
They were followed by Nicolas Lapierre, Nic Minassian, and Marc Gene in another Peugeot 908.
Needing just 13 points from the race, Peugeot has now secured its second Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Manufacturers’ title, ahead of November’s final race in China.
Rounding out the top three podium position was Adrian Fernandez, Harold Primat, and Stefan Mucke in the Aston Martin Racing DBR1-2, a team that only returned to race in the U.S. at the previous American Le Mans Series event in Laguna Seca.
For Audi, easily Peugeot’s toughest rival, both of its R18 TDIs had to retire. At one point, the R18 TDI driven by Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, and Marcel Fassler was close to the lead but with just over seven hours gone, Dumas was squeezed over by Montagny as the Audi attempted to overtake. While trying to avoid a collision with the Peugeot, Dumas brushed a GT car and hit the retaining wall heavily--the Frenchman uninjured but his R18 TDI too badly damaged to continue.
The other R18 TDI, driven by Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen, and Dindo Capello had to retire earlier due to a dangerous steering issue, which was the result of several minor collisions occurring throughout the race.
Ferrari was also a winner at Petit Le Mans, with the F458 Italia driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni, and Pierre Kaffer taking out the the GTE-Pro division, and Krohn Racing's Tracy Krohn, Niclas Jonsson, and Michele Rugolo taking out the GTE-Am class in a Ferrari F430.