Audi Wins Le Mans

Audi hangs on to win Le Mans, Photo Roger Elliott, RjEPhotos

Benoit Treluyer, Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler won the 79th Le Mans 24 Hours in the #2 Audi Sport Team Joest R18, 13.854 seconds ahead of the #9 Peugeot of Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien Bourdais and Pedro Lamy.

It was an exciting race as Audi and Peugeot battled throughout, exchanging leads several times during the night and early morning. The race was marred by two serious incidents that took out two of the three font running Audis, both involved slower cars from the GTE-Pro class. Allan McNish crashed out in the first hour while overtaking team-mate Timo Bernhard in the esses. McNish came together with the Ferrari 458 of Anthony Beltoise sending both cars off the track. The Audi slammed into the tire barrier, almost flipping over the barrier into the photographer’s area. Luckily no one was injured. 

At about eight hours the #3 Audi piloted by Mike Rockenfeller went off the track while passing the #71 Ferrari 458 driven by Robert Kaufman between Mulssane and Indianapolis. The Audi, traveling near 180 mph careened across the track head-on into the barrier, virtually exploding and ricocheted back across the track. Rockenfeller was able to remove himself from the monocoupe and was transported by ambulance to the medical center and a local hospital. A testament to the strength of the Audi, Rockenfeller escaped serious injury and is in good condition.

The Zytek driven by Tom Kimber-Smith, Karim Ojjeh and Olivier Lombard outlasted faster cars to win LMP2. The Signatech Nissan finished second followed by the American Level 5 Team.

Corvette win GTE on 10th Anniversary first win, Photo Roger Elliott,RjEPhotos

On the tenth anniversary of their first win at Le Mans, #73 Corvette of Olivier Beretta/Tom Milner/Antonio Garcia won GTE Pro honors. The #74 Corvette of Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook lead GTE until morning when Magnussen crashed out at the Ford chicane overtaking a slower Porsche. AF Corse 458 Italia inherited the lead but suffered electrical problems allowing the #72 Corvette to chase down the Ferrari.  The Ferrari held on to finish second.  Final podium spot for GTE-Pro was clinched by the #56 BMW of Andy Priaulx/Dirk Muller/Joey Hand.

Krohn Racing Ferrari 430, Photo Roger Elliott,RjEPhotos

Larbre Competition’s Corvette and Porsche entries took the top spots in GTE-Am. American Robertson Racing Ford GT, in their debut race at Le Mans, took third.  American Krohn was running a strong race and appeared strong enough to contend for  podium finish. Unfortunately mechanical problems retired the Sebring winning teams Ferrari 430.

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