- Le Mans 24 Hours
Audi takes victory at Le Mans
Audi won a gruelling Le Mans 24 Hours, coming out on top in a race of attrition that saw four of the factory LMP1 cars retire, including the Porsche featuring Mark Webber.
Despite suffering turbo issues on Sunday morning the #2 Audi of Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer won by three laps from the #1 Audi of Tom Kristensen, Lucas di Grassi and Marc Gene, which had to be rebuilt after a big crash during the first practice session on Wednesday. The #8 Toyota of Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastien Buemi took third, five laps down, despite being involved in an accident on the Mulsanne Straight when a rain storm hit on Saturday afternoon.
The #7 Toyota of Alexander Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima had been leading during the first half of the race but retired with an electrical problem overnight, allowing the Audi's to take the lead. However, Sunday morning held further drama when both the #2 and #1 Audis had turbo trouble, briefly handing the lead to the #20 Porsche of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.
The #20 Porsche had been off the pace with a handling issue for much of the race and would have struggled to hold off the Audis, yet for a fleeting moment it looked as though a fairy-tale return to Le Mans for Webber and Porsche might be a possibility. However, the dream was ended for good with two hours remaining when Webber slowed on the Mulsanne Straight with an engine issue and crawled back to the pits. The Porsche mechanics went to work immediately in the hope of holding onto the final podium position, but it quickly became clear the issue was terminal.
The retirement gave the lead Audis the freedom to cruise to the finish as the #8 Toyota moved up to third and the Rebellion Racing LMP1 car of Nicolas Prost, Nick Heidfeld and Mathais Beche was promoted to fourth. Such was the level of attrition among the top class of cars that the winner of the LMP2 class, the #38 Jota Sport car of Harry Tincknell, Simon Dolan and McLaren test driver Oliver Turvey finished fifth. The AF Corse Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander won the GTE class after many of its rivals hit trouble.