Ottawa Citizen

Villeneuve drives for historic auto racing Triple Crown


LE MANS, France •

Jacques Villeneuve will become only the second driver in history to win motor racing’s Triple Crown if he adds the Le Mans 24 Hour Race to his Formula One and Indy 500 victories.

The veteran Canadian racer, who will be driving for Peugeot in the latest edition of the classic endurance race here this weekend, was F1 world champion in 1997, two years after winning at Indianapol­is.

Only the late Graham Hill won all three, adding his 1972 Le Mans victory to his F1 world titles in 1962 and 1968 and his 1972 Indy 500 triumph.

‘‘I don’t think about it much when I’m racing, but then you go home and it’s always nice to think about,’’ Villeneuve told

‘‘Your children will ask questions about your career and if you can say ‘yeah, I did this and won this and this’ they look at you with big eyes and they’re proud of that. My son is too young yet for this, but the time will come and I think it could end up being quite special, so statistics do matter in the end.

‘‘I’ve won two of the hardest things to win, the Indy 500 and F1, and also the IndyCar title. Le Mans is obviously the big one that’s left, and then there would be NASCAR, too. Then that would be everything.’’

Villeneuve shares driving duties this weekend with Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene for the second year running, but will start today’s race third on the gird behind two other dominant Peugeots.

‘‘There has been a lot of work done on the car in one year. It’s a lot faster, more competitiv­e, and more reliable than before, which is great,’’ Villeneuve said.

‘‘I have a good chemistry with both Marc and Nicolas. We have similar set-ups, so it’s easy to drive the car among ourselves. They’re good teammates to have because I know the two of them are fast and don’t make stupid mistakes.’’

For the second year in a row, Peugeot will start on pole after a stunning lap in qualifying from Stephane Sarrazin in the car he shares with Pedro Lamy and Alexander Wurz.

The sister car of Franck Montagny, Ricardo Zonta and Christian Klein are second with Gene, Minassian and Villeneuve just behind.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada