Having led right from lights out, the #8 Peugeot 908 HDi has hit trouble as the end of the sixth hour approaches in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours, with Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 star Sebastien Bourdais losing time in his pit box with an undiagnosed issue at the left rear of the car.
In the hands of Bourdais and compatriots and co-drivers Stephane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny, the leading Peugeot had opened up a margin of more than a lap over the #9 sister machine, but its first problem – speculatively caused by a wheel bearing failure – has dropped the car down to fourth place, two laps adrift of new race leader Alex Wurz in the #9 machine and also behind the two remaining front-running Audis, promoted back onto the lead lap once again.
The first Peugeot to encounter difficulty was the one referred to by sporting director Olivier Quesnel as 'the hare', the #7 challenger of Nicolas Minassian, Christian Klien and Pedro Lamy, with the latter being clumsily released directly into the path of the #17 Pescarolo-Peugeot, leaving the Portuguese ace with a puncture that caused significant damage to the rear of the car and cost the trio 24 minutes and seven laps [see separate story – click here
]. Down in 51st position after the incident occurred, a series of searing laps have hauled the third Pug back up to 17th place.