Le Mans 24 Hours: #2 Audi claims victory

    Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loic Duval took a commanding victory, which was Kristensen's ninth and McNish's third.

    Published On Jun 23, 2013 11:09:00 PM

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    Le Mans 24 Hours: #2 Audi claims victory

    Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loic Duval took a commanding victory in a Le Mans 24 Hours that was overshadowed by the death of Danish driver Allan Simonsen early in the race.

    For Kristensen it was a ninth win in the race and extended the record he already held. McNish took his third Le Mans win while Duval, who put the car on pole last Wednesday, claimed success in the race for the first time.

    Audi has now won the event for 12 of the last 14 years.

    Duval assumed the lead in the #2 R18 e-tron quattro in the seventh hour when the Benoit Treluyer/Andre Lotterer/Marcel Fassler #1 car, which had held the advantage from the start, spent 12 laps in the pits while an alternator problem was fixed.

    A puncture sustained in traffic while Oliver Jarvis was at the wheel put the #3 Audi on the back foot at around the same time. The machine later needed further bodywork repairs that dropped it a further lap off the pace an hour later.

    While the #1 car dropped outside the top 20 and the #3 fell to sixth, the Toyotas moved up to second and third.

    Sebastien Buemi even had the audacity to get his #8 TS030 HYBRID back on the lead lap in the final half-hour to claim a well-deserved runner-up spot with Anthony Davidson and Stephane Sarrazin, but the #7 was not so lucky.

    After losing third to Jarvis with four hours to go, Nicolas Lapierre crashed heavily at the Porsche curves, but amazingly managed to get his car back to the pits and repaired without dropping any more spots.

    The Strakka HPD of Jonny Kane/Danny Watts/Nick Leventis finished sixth after the Rebellion Lola challenge was blunted by a safety car-inducing shunt for Andrea Belicchi on Sunday morning and gearbox problems for the #12 car that boasted Neel Jani and Nick Heidfeld on its line-up.

    OAK Racing claimed a one-two finish in LMP2; Bertrand Baguette recovering from a spin in the final hour when heavy rain doused the circuit to take victory with Ricardo Gonzalez and Martin Plowman.

    Second was the sister Morgan-Nissan of Olivier Pla/Alex Brundle/David Heinemeier Hansson while Mike Conway/John Martin/Roman Rusinov were third in their G-Drive/Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan.

    The G-Drive machine lost two laps - the margin it finished behind the winner - to a slow puncture early on and an unscheduled pitstop to change regulation lighting panels on the side of the car during the night.

    For a large portion of the race the GTE Pro division looked likely to be dominated by an Aston Martin Racing squad still in mourning after news of Simonsen's death broke on Saturday evening.

    A heavy crash from leader Frederic Makowiecki at the second Mulsanne chicane with five and a half hours to go handed the advantage to the sister Vantage GTE of Stefan Mucke/Darren Turner/Rob Bell.

    But as the race moved along the #92 Manthey-run factory Porsche of Richard Lietz/Marc Lieb/Romain Dumas came into contention.

    The late rain shower led to a range of strategies being adopted. Lietz stayed out on dry tyres when the weather was at its worst and was then able to use the fact that Mucke had been held in the pits by a red light to open up what would be a winning a four-minute advantage at a stroke.

    With the sister #91 Porsche of Patrick Pilet/Jorg Bergmeister/Timo Bernhard also making a smart tyre call at this point the Aston was relegated to third.

    Neither the factory Corvettes, nor the AF Corse Ferraris were ever in contention; Toni Vilander throwing away fifth in one of the Italian machines when he planted his in the tyres at Mulsanne corner when the rain came.

    Aston also led the GTE Am division early on until polesitter Simonsen crashed fatally at Tertre Rouge on lap four; the Vantage GTE causing extensive damage to the crash barriers on the exit of the corner.

    Marco Cioci and Matt Griffin picked up the baton and led first six hours in the #61 AF Corse Ferrari, but dropped down the order after co-driver Jack Gerber spun several times.

    As the race developed and the #88 Proton and #77 Dempsey Del Piero Porsches suffered various maladies, the #76 Imsa 911 GT3 RSR of Jean-Karl Vernay/Raymond Narac/Christophe Bourret came to the fore.

    A one-lap advantage was established with four hours to go, which proved enough to give the French trio victory ahead of the #55 AF Corse machine of Piergiuseppe Perazzini/Darryl O'Young/Lorenzo Case. The #61 car finished third.

    POSITIONS AFTER 24 HOURS
    
    Pos Cl      Car       Drivers                         Laps  Gap
     1. P1  #2  Audi      Kristensen/McNish/Duval         348   
     2. P1  #8  Toyota    Davidson/Sarrazin/Buemi         347   +     1 Lap
     3. P1  #3  Audi      Gene/Jarvis/di Grassi           347   + 1m55.252s
     4. P1  #7  Toyota    Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima          341   +    7 Laps
     5. P1  #1  Audi      Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler       338   +   10 Laps
     6. P1  #21 HPD       Leventis/Kane/Watts             332   +   16 Laps
     7. P2  #35 Morgan    Baguette/Plowman/Gonzalez       329   +   19 Laps
     8. P2  #24 Morgan    Pla/Brundle/H Hansson           328   +   20 Laps
     9. P2  #26 Oreca     Rusinov/Martin/Conway           327   +   21 Laps
    10. P2  #42 Zytek     Krumm/Mardenborough/Ordonez     327   + 1m07.075s
    11. P2  #49 Oreca     P-Companc/Kaffer/Minassian      325   +   23 Laps
    12. P2  #43 Morgan    Gachnang/Mailleux/Lombard       320   +   28 Laps
    13. P2  #48 Oreca     Hartley/Chandhok/Patterson      319   +   29 Laps
    14. P2  #38 Zytek     Dolan/Turvey/Luhr               319   + 4m01.549s
    15. P2  #36 Alpine    Ragues/Panciatici/Gommendy      317   +   31 Laps
    16. GTP #92 Porsche   Lieb/Lietz/Dumas                315   +   33 Laps
    17. GTP #91 Porsche   Bergmeister/Pilet/Bernhard      315   + 2m10.631s
    18. GTP #97 Aston     Mucke/Turner/Dumbreck           314   +   34 Laps
    19. P2  #34 Oreca     Frey/Niederhauser/Bleekemolen   314   + 1m27.131s
    20. GTP #73 Corvette  Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor         312   +   36 Laps
    21. GTP #71 Ferrari   Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander      311   +   37 Laps
    22. GTP #51 Ferrari   Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli      311   + 1m57.110s
    23. GTP #74 Corvette  Gavin/Milner/Westbrook          309   +   39 Laps
    24. P2  #41 Zytek     Rossi/K-Smith/Lux               307   +   41 Laps
    25. GTP #53 SRT       Farnbacher/Goossens/Dalziel     306   +   42 Laps
    26. GTA #76 Porsche   Narac/Vernay/Bourret            306   + 1m51.302s
    27. GTA #55 Ferrari   Perazzini/O'Young/Case          305   +   43 Laps
    28. GTA #61 Ferrari   Gerber/Griffin/Cioci            305   + 1m26.507s
    29. GTA #77 Porsche   Dempsey/Foster/Long             305   + 2m51.114s
    30. GTA #50 Corvette  Bornhauser/Canal/Taylor         302   +   46 Laps
    31. GTA #96 Aston     Goethe/Campbell-Walter/Hall     301   +   47 Laps
    32. GTP #93 SRT       Wittmer/Kendall/Bomarito        301   + 1m58.599s
    33. P2  #40 Oreca     Dagoneau/Downs/Younessi         300   +   48 Laps
    34. GTA #67 Porsche   Gibon/Milesi/Henzler            300   +   32.348s
    35. GTP #66 Ferrari   Bertolini/Faisal/Qubaisi        300   +   51.765s
    36. GTA #88 Porsche   Ried/Roda/Ruberti               300   + 1m28.639s
    37. GTA #75 Porsche   Collard/Perrodo/Crubile         298   +   50 Laps
    38. GTA #81 Ferrari   Potolicchio/Aguas/Bright        294   +   54 Laps
    39. P2  #39 Lola      Porta/Brandela/Raffin           280   +   68 Laps
    40. P1  #12 Lola      Prost/Jani/Heidfeld             275   +   73 Laps
    41. P1  #13 Lola      Beche/Belicchi/Cheng            275   + 1m27.020s
    42. GTA #70 Corvette  MacNeil/Rodrigues/Dumas         268   +   80 Laps
    43. P2  #33 HPD       Tucker/Franchitti/Briscoe       242   +  106 Laps
    44. P2  #46 Oreca     Thiriet/Badey/Martin            310      Retired
    45. GTP #99 Aston     Makowiecki/Senna/Bell           248      Retired
    46. P2  #45 Morgan    Nicolet/Merlin/Mondolot         246      Retired
    47. P2  #47 Morgan    Imperatori/Howson/Tung          241      Retired
    48. GTP #98 Aston     Dalla Lana/Lamy/Auberlen        221      Retired
    49. P2  #32 Lotus     Holzer/Kraihamer/Charouz        219      Retired
    50. P2  #30 Lola      Mowlem/Burgess/Hirschi          153      Retired
    51. GTA #54 Ferrari   Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank        147      Retired
    52. GTA #57 Ferrari   Krohn/Jonsson/Mediani           111      Retired
    53. P2  #25 Oreca     Graves/Hamilton/Nakano          101      Retired
    54. P2  #28 Lola      Giroix/Haezebrouck/Ihara        22       Retired
    55. P2  #31 Lotus     Weeda/Rossiter/Bouchut          17       Retired
    56. GTA #95 Aston     Simonsen/Nygaard/Poulsen        2        Retired

     

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