Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Back at home

Like many folks, I guess, this is my first day back at work following the return trip from Le Mans. Apart from ghastly traffic in Calais, and a brief brush with the Gendarmes at Broglie (anyone else get caught there, I wonder?) it was a good trip back, and all that remains now - apart from getting through my inbox and actually doing some work - is to reflect on a stunning race.

Reflection will take a little longer though. See dailysportscar for that, as I can't work out how to put graphs on this page.

Initial reactions though... and a record distance... and a record fastest lap - the fastest ever race lap at Le Mans. By Loic Duval of all people. About the only thing that Peugeot can bring home from this year's race. I will give them their due, they gave it their best shot. And it was spectacular. But I will come clean and say that I didn't really expect Audi to get a clean sweep of the podium - who did? Was Peugeot's strategy flawed? Well, it didn't work, but that's not to say that it could or should have succeeded. And it is not clear (at least not clear to me, yet) exactly what the engine problem was that stopped them. Was it simply a turbo blowing? I think not, as they would have been able to get them back to the pits if that were the case. And I'm pretty sure there were bits of metal dribbling out of the back of Montagny's car that were visible on the TV screens.

I suppose it was the fact that the Peugeot's unreliability was so predictable, in "flat-out" trim. I wonder if the night was cool enough that they could have run faster in the night, without compromising the reliability. It is a question of approach really, I suppose. Audi always seems to have "bring it home" on the agenda (someone maybe should have told Nigel Mansell). I get the feeling that the Audi engine does not have a setting that would have led to failures of the sort that Peugeot had.

Both Aston Martin (with the LMP1) and Corvette (with the GT2 car) also had engine failures in the closing stages. It seems to happen, as the ambient temperatures begin to rise, but nevertheless, it is still a shattering experience to live through. And didn't Strakka do well, with the HPD? A pretty much flawless race.

The winning Audi was pretty much flawless as well, of course, although it nearly had its own disaster in the pits when it collided with a cameraman, causing a fairly serious injury, it seems. It was fortunate for Audi that the damage to the car was limited to a broken mirror.

Here's a thought though. It wasn't the engine blow-ups that lost Peugeot the race. It was the problems which occurred that dropped them back in the first place. That electrical problem on the no 1 car. The suspension failure on the no 3. The driveshaft on the no 4. Can't think of anything in particular that hit the no 2, but I am sure there was something. More homework required there.

And if they hadn't have blown up, it really would have been too close to call. Having broken the distance record this year, what money on "closest ever finish" next year?

More reviews to come.

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