The all-French driving team of Nicolas Lapierre, Loic Duval and Olivier Panis won the 12 Hours of Sebring on Saturday in a Peugeot 908. Clean, fast driving and great race strategy gave Matmut the win.
It was Loic Duval who sheperded the car to the win, taking the victory by a margin of 31.868 seconds over the Highcroft Racing HPD ARX 01.
“We didn’t expect to be that quick and that lucky today,” said Duval. “At the end of the day it is a great achievement for ORECA.”
“It was strategy to make the splash,” Duval said. “After that, the car was perfect and I was able to keep the gap between us. I think we didn’t expect to be in this position. We were building and building and at the end the car was perfect.”
The victory was the second for Oreca and team owner Hugues de Chaunac at Sebring. The team ran the ALMS series with Dodge Viper GT-R’s in 1999 and 2000, claiming a GTS class victory at Sebring in 2000.
Peugeot are defending their 2010 victory in this race but face stiff competition from Audi, who have won at Sebring nine times in the past 11 years.
Simon Pagenaud had drawn the final stint in the car but could not close the gap.
Final standings of 12 Hours of Sebring 2011, first round of the ILMC :
1. Peugeot 908 HDi FAP (Oreca), (Lapierre, Duval, Panis), 332 laps in 12hrs
2. Honda ARX 01 (Pagenaud, Brabham, Franchitti), + 31’’868
3. Peugeot 908 no.8, (Sarrazin, Montagny, Lamy), + 44’’502
4. Audi R15+, (Capello, McNish, Kristensen) +5 laps
5. Audi R15+, (Dumas, Bernhard, Rockenfeller) +6 laps
8. Peugeot 908 no.7, (Davidson, Gené, Wurz), +17 laps