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Le Mans entry includes Pescarolo surprise

The ACO has released the entry list for the 2009 running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, with the major surprise coming in LMP1 with the news that the Pescarolo Sport team will run a Peugeot 908 HDi.

The 55 car entry list boasts a stellar field of 21 LMP1 machines as Audi and Peugeot are joined in battle by Aston Martin with no fewer than 13 cars representing the three marques.

Audi will field three of its new R15 TDis as it seeks to continue its winning run and will be supported by the privateer team run by Colin Kolles which has secured two slots with its R10s. Peugeot themselves will run three cars as it seeks to secure the elusive home win with support coming from Henri Pescarolo's eponymous squad – which will also run a single Pescarolo Judd.

Despite the move from GT1, Aston Martin Racing will again run the 007 and 009 cars but this time in LMP1 after its recently announced move to the premier class of prototype racing, while a third car will be entered – the 008 – under the banner of AMR Eastern Europe. The privateer Speedy Racing Team Sebah car will add further support to the Aston Martin challenge.

Elsewhere, Team ORECA Matmut will field two AIM-powered Courage Orecas, with Signature Plus securing an entry for its older Courage Judd. Strakka Racing and Team LNT have secured entries to represent Ginetta Zytek while both Epsilon Euskadi and Creation Autosportif have picked up single entries into the event. The former has a second car placed sixth on the reserve list.

In LMP2, twelve cars are set to take the start, with a further three on the reserve list.

Three Porsche RS Spyders feature on the entry list, including the top two from last season, although the van Merksteijn Motorsport car will now be run by 2004 overall winners NAVI Team Goh. 2008 runners-up Team Essex also return – the only LMP2 entrant to take up its automatic entry – while FIA GT title winners Vitaphone Racing has also secured an RS Spyder for the event with its GT1 Maserati MC12 not complying with ACO regulations.

Four Lola Coupes are set to provide the main opposition, with RML and KSM both entering Mazda-powered machines and both Racing Box and Speedy Racing Team Sebah sticking with the Judd powerplant. OAK Racing, the newly renamed Saulnier operation will run a pair of Mazda-powered Pescarolos while Quifel-ASM enters a Ginetta-Zytek, GAC Racing team a Zytek 07S and Bruichladdich Bruneau the lone Radical on the grid.

Barazi Epsilon, Gerard Welter and a second Racing Box machine are all listed amongst the reserves.

In what is set to be the final year of GT1 competition, eight cars have been entered and the Aston Martin versus Corvette battle is set to continue despite the loss of the works AMR team to prototype.

Corvette Racing will run its two cars with support coming from Luc Alphand's privateer team, which has also secured two places in the race. Gigawave Motorsport and Jetalliance Racing will fly the flag for Aston Martin as both teams make their debuts at La Sarthe while a brace of Lamborghini Murcielagos complete the field run by the IPB Spartak Racing and JLOC ISAO Nortitake teams. A Saleen S7R entered by Larbre Competition features amongst the reserves.

The GT2 field comprises of 14 cars, with nine Ferrari 430s securing entries into the race.

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