The first safety car appearance of the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours was prompted when two of the four Peugeot 908 HDis collided in the pit-lane, leaving the #7 machine with a puncture and significant damage.
After shadowing race leader Franck Montagny closely throughout the opening half hour of what is already developing into a classic La Sarthe encounter, Pedro Lamy came in to make his first pit-stop, but as he was released by his Peugeot crew, he was done so right into the path of the Pescarolo-Peugeot of Jean-Christophe Boullion who was entering his own pit box just in front.
As the two came together, the #17 machine tagged the left rear of the #7, and shortly into his 'out' lap it transpired that Lamy had a puncture. With a full twelve kilometres to cover before being able to regain the pit-lane, the flailing rubber proceeded to rip the rear end of the car quite literally apart, depositing bodywork debris and carbon fibre shards right across the track. Somehow, the ex-Formula 1 ace managed to drag the car back to the pits – albeit with its turbo hanging off and an extent of damage that could mean game over.
For Peugeot, it was a disastrous misunderstanding, and Pescarolo too ended up paying a heavy price, with Boullion's car requiring a new nose and dropping it down outside the top 20. Team chief Henri Pescarolo later blamed the plethora of photographers crowding around the pit box that had unsighted both 'JCB' and the Peugeot pit crew.
With just short of an hour now completed, Franck Montagny continues to lead in the #8 Peugeot, with the drama promoting defending race-winner Allan McNish to second in the lead Audi, Mike Rockenfeller backing him up in third and Alex Wurz slipping back to fourth as a result of having to pit twice due to debris concerns.