David Brabham endured a challenging debut for the Peugeot Sport team during the second round of the Le Mans Series at Spa.
On-track contact caused the #9 Peugeot HDi FAP he shared with Alex Wurz and Marc Gene to undergo suspension repairs in the pits just over two hours into the race, dropping the car significantly down the order. Brabham battled back from 21st to 14th place before team mate Wurz brought the car home to finish 13th.
Wurz delivered a positive start to the weekend for the #9 Team Peugeot Total car by completing an all-Peugeot front row alongside the #7 908 HDi FAP in qualifying on Saturday.
Gene made a good start for the race on Sunday to hold second behind Nicolas Minassian in the sister Peugeot through two safety car periods in the first 30 minutes. Remaining in position throughout a solid stint, Gene pitted and Brabham took the wheel as the race edged into its third hour.
The double Le Mans GT1 class winner joined the fray in fifth place on lap 50, 41 seconds behind the lead Peugeot. Barely a handful of laps into his stint, the-43 year-old returned to the pits to get his car checked following on-track contact with the #28 Courage. He rejoined the race, made for the pits again one lap later and the car was rolled into the garage.
Excellent work by the Peugeot Sport team ensured that the bent right rear wishbone was swiftly replaced to get Brabham back on track in just over 13 minutes under a safety car period, six laps down on the leading Peugeot in 21st place.
After spending most of the first hour of his stint in the pits and circulating under the safety car, Brabham was finally able to go green flag racing after more than 30 minutes under caution, to try and claw back some lost time.
Battling through traffic and the GT class contenders, Brabham marched through to 14th place and reduced the gap on the leaders to five laps. With yet another safety car period, Brabham took the opportunity to pit just before the four hour mark to pass the reins to his Austrian team mate.
Shortly into his stint, Wurz returned to the pits to serve a four minute penalty following Brabham's earlier incident and contact with car #28. The #9 Peugeot rejoined the race seven laps down on the leader in 15th place and Wurz worked his way up to 13th by the time the chequered flag fell.
“It was a disappointing result for us today but we can still walk away with a lot of vital information to take forward to Le Mans next month,” Brabham said. “The number seven Peugeot had a faultless race and it's great that Peugeot took victory at Spa.