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Wurz, Klien and Gene among favourites for Le Mans victory 13 Jun 2008

Pedro Lamy (POR) / Alexander Wurz (AUT) / Stephane Sarrazin (FRA) Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP. Le Mans 24 Hours Qualifying, Le Mans, France, 10 June 2008. World © Hall/Sutton Christian Klien (AUT) BMW Sauber Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 9 May 2008 Nicolas Minassian (FRA) / Marc Gene (ESP) / Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) Team Total Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP. Le Mans 24 Hours, Circuit du Sarthe, France, 16 -17 June 2007. World © Hall/Sutton

Honda test driver Alex Wurz and BMW Sauber and Ferrari counterparts Christian Klien and Marc Gene will all be frontrunners in this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hour race, after Peugeot’s three-car line-up dominated qualifying for the famous French endurance event.

The diesel-powered 908 machines took first, second and third on the grid, with pole position going to Peugeot’s number-eight entry, piloted by Wurz and former Minardi Formula One drivers Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin.

Klien’s number-nine car, which he shares with ex-Toyota F1 stars Franck Montagny and Ricardo Zonta, starts second, while Gene lines up third in car number seven, along with 1997 Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve and Frenchman Nicolas Minassian.

Whilst Klien is a newcomer to Le Mans, Wurz is more familiar with the event, having become its youngest winner in 1996 when he took victory in a Joest Porsche. Gene - who fractured a toe after crashing heavily in practice for this year’s race - and Villeneuve also shared a Peugeot drive in 2007, but failed to finish.

Should Peugeot be first past the chequered flag on Sunday afternoon, the French company will break Audi’s stranglehold on the event, the German car giant having won for seven of the last eight years. Peugeot’s last victory was in 1993.

For Villeneuve, victory would hold particular resonance, as it would make him the first driver in history to have won the Formula One world championship, the Indianapolis 500, the Champ Car title and Le Mans.