Peugeot won again at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring after Team ORECA Matmut secured victory in the opening round of both the American Le Mans Series and the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

Loic Duval took the chequered flag by 31.868 seconds in his Peugeot 908 HDi FAP ahead Highcroft Racing's Simon Pagenaud in a classic fight that saw the top three cars finish on the lead lap.

Duval, who won with Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Panis, took a late splash of fuel to ensure he could make it to the end of the race to take victory in the first race of the ILMC season.

"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."

Team owner and ORECA founder Hugues de Chaunac was in tears during the final lap - ones of joy. This was the first time he brought his team to Sebring since sweeping the GTS podium in 2000 with the factory Dodge Viper programme.

"It's a historic result for us," de Chaunac said. "It's a race that we built step by step. We finished just in front of the manufacturers. We avoided any mistakes. It was a perfect job from the team and these three drivers. It was not easy because I asked them to be quick and patient. We won because we did not make any mistakes.

Pagenaud, David Brabham and Marino Franchitti drove Highcroft's HPD ARX-01e for the first time this week and appeared on the verge of its first Sebring victory. But Pagenaud finished second, and held off the highest-finishing Peugeot 908 factory entry of Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy.

The other factory Peugeot was involved in an early-race crash with the #2 Audi R15 Plus prototype at Turn 17 that effectively ended both cars' chance at winning. The #1 Audi lost two left-rear tyres on consecutive laps earlier.

BMW Motorsport won a hard-fought GT battle for the manufacturer's first win at Sebring since 1999 when it took an overall victory. Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Andy Priaulx led a 1-2 finish in class for the German marque, which won the GT team and manufacturer championships in 2010.

The winning car came back from an early tap and spin with one of the JaguarRSR entries and a left-front flat yire. Given some of the other attrition that went on in the class and the fact that the top six cars in class ran on the same lap deep in to the race, getting both cars to the finish - never mind a 1-2 finish - was an accomplishment in and of itself.

Five cars led the class at one point, a preview of what's to come the rest for the 2011 season.

The car of Augusto Farfus, Dirk Werner and Bill Auberlen placed second but was leading until a tyre puncture in the final third of the race pushed it back into third place. Werner passed Corvette Racing's Tommy Milner with 35 minutes remaining to make it a 1-2 for the M3 GTs.

Milner placed third in the Corvette C6.R that he drove with Olivier Beretta and Antonio Garcia.

Level 5 Motorsports won its LMP2 debut with a victory for the entry of team owner Scott Tucker, Luis Diaz and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The team won at Sebring in LMP Challenge last year and moved up to P2 after taking the LMPC championship in 2010.

Hunter-Reay crossed the finish line ahead of the class pole-sitting Signatech Nissan ORECA-Nissan. Both cars had their share of trouble but a trip back to the paddock and penalties in the pitlane doomed the Signatech entry. Class pole-sitter Soheil Ayari, Franck Mailleux and Lucas Ordonez came home second in class.

Oak Racing's Pescarolo-Judd of Andrea Barlesi, Frederic Da Rocha and Patrice Lafargue were third in class.

Krohn Racing won handily in GTE-Am with its Ferrari F430 GT. Tracy Krohn crossed the chequered flag well ahead of the Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. It marked the team's first victory in the American Le Mans Series and first for drivers Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Michele Rugolo.

The class battle went back and forth between the Krohn Ferrari and the Proton Porsche all day as the two cars were the only ones to lead. The Ferrari took advantage for good with a little more than two hours to go when the Porsche ran into problems and went back to the paddock for repairs.

Genoa Racing won in LMP Challenge from the pole position as Dane Cameron won by 44.314 seconds in his ORECA FLM09 over CORE autosport's Ryan Dalziel. Genoa won for the first time in the class after running the full season in 2010. Cameron drove with Jens Petersen and Michael Guasch.

In GT Challenge, Black Swan Racing opened the defence of its 2010 class championship with its first victory at Sebring. Damien Faulkner beat TRG's Spencer Pumpelly across the finish line by 68 seconds to win with Tim Pappas and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen in the team's Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry.

Pumpelly, Alain Li and Duncan Ende wound up second, a position it held for a great majority of the final four hours. NGT Motorsport's Porsche of Henrique Cisneros, Carlos Kauffmann and Sean Edwards placed third in class.



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