Audi impress but Peugeot dominate to win at Spa
Peugeot laid the perfect foundations for next month's Le Mans 24 Hours by winning the Spa 6 Hours for the fifth year in a row ahead of arch rivals, Audi.
The French team locked out the top two podium places with the #7 car of Alex Wurz, Anthony Davidson and Marc Gene leading home the sister car of Stephane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny and Nicolas Minassian.
The result was all the sweeter for Peugeot after a terrible qualifying session which left their cars in 13th, 18th and 50th on the grid.
Audi's best finisher was the #3 car of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello with the team unable to capitalise on their dominant qualifying performance when they recorded the top three times.
The two leading Peugeots ran without problems from start to finish and looked on course for a podium lockout until the third car got stuck in gravel and then suffered suspension problems that dropped it down the order.
That allowed the #3 Audi to sneak into third and secure a podium place on the R18 TDI's debut, a strong result in the face of problems throughout the race.
First, McNish span on the opening lap while challenging for the lead which put him down to 16th. He recovered to fourth within 30 minutes before handing over to Capello and then Kristensen, who got within 14 seconds of the second place car before having to pit because of a slow puncture.
"A podium is always a good result," McNish said after the race, "but to be honest it's a bit frustrating dropping to third... it was a very close race between us and Peugeot."
Peugeot were delighted with their performance which was acknowledged by the team's director, Olivier Quesnel, who said: "After the first day everyone thought Peugeot was not as good as expected but we showed them."