Audi take gruelling edition of Le Mans 24 Hours

June 15, 2014

Audi take gruelling edition of Le Mans 24 Hours

June 15, 2014

_RD49483audi

Audi celebrated a one-two finish in a thrilling and action packed Le Mans 24 Hours over the weekend. Most of the factory LMP1 cars hit trouble at various times during the twice round the clock epic but yet again it was the Ingolstadt based manufacturer that came through to take the silverware.

Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer brought home the sister #1 Audi R18 3 laps ahead of Tom Kristensen, Lucas di Grassi and Marc Gene, as Audi won a battle of attrition against Toyota and Porsche.

It was not without problems and drama for the Audis though as both suffered turbo issues on Sunday morning, handing the #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard an opportunity to fight for victory, putting the Stuttgart built car into the lead with three hours left to run.

But the #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid could not compete with the sheer pace of the recovering Andre Lotterer in the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro and the German had already gone through in to the lead when Webber slowed with technical problems

Kristensen had at one stage looked like he would be celebrating a remarkable 10th Le Mans victory but the Dane’s Audi R18 required a turbo change, yet still recovered to take second place.

The #8 Toyota trio of Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastien Buemi salvaged a podium finish once the Porsches were forced into the garage with their problems. Lapierre had earlier crashed in the first rain storm and damaged the front of his car, taking the #3 Audi driven by Marco Bonanomi with him.

The pole sitting #7 Toyota TS040 dominated the early stages of the race with Alexander Wurz setting some excellent foundations for his teammates Kazuki Nakajima and Stephane Sarrazin to exploit later on in the race. With almost a lap in hand they looked set for victory but were ruled out of the race after electrical problems in the 15th hour.

FERRARI TAKES CLOSE LMGTE PRO WIN

The AF Corse Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander took a comfortable victory in the LMGTE Pro category, when its early rivals fell away after a torrid battle for much of the race.

Bruni, who had qualified the Ferrari 458 Italia on pole position, took the checkered flag two laps ahead of the leading Chevrolet Corvette Racing C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Jan Magnussen. The Corvette managed to overturn a broken air-jack issue, which lost it time in the pits, to beat the leading Manthey Porsche 911 RSR in the fight for second place.

Bruni, who had qualified the Ferrari 458 Italia on pole position, took the checkered flag two laps ahead of the leading Chevrolet Corvette Racing C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Jan Magnussen. The Corvette managed to overturn a broken air-jack issue, which lost it time in the pits, to beat the leading Manthey Porsche 911 RSR in the fight for second place.

‘Fred’ Makowiecki held second during the closing stages in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR he shared with Marco Holzer and Richard Lietz, but was delayed during his penultimate scheduled stop, allowing the Corvette through.

The #73 Corvette finished fourth and frustrated after its early challenge for the lead in the hands of British duo Oliver Gavin, Richard Westbrook and Washington DC’s Tommy Milner, was derailed by overnight alternator issues.

A power steering problem meant that the long-time race leading Aston Martin Vantage of Darren Turner, Bruno Senna and Stefan Mucke fell back to 19th overall in LMGTE Pro, 27 laps back from the winning Ferrari 458 of AF Corse.

Cooper McNeil delivered a truly heroic performance for the Prospeed Competition/WeatherTech Racing as he shared the full 24 hours of driving with just one driver, Jeroen Bleekemolen. This was after their team mate Brett Curtis was ruled out of the race due to a qualifying accident. The duo finished a brilliant 5th in class after a largely untroubled race.

The innovative crowd favourite Nissan ZEOD RC garage 56 entry achieved the record breaking feat of completing a full electric lap of the 8.72 mile track during the morning warm-up on Saturday. Wolfganag Reip, a home grown Nissan athlete from the successful GT Academy stable delighted the team and thousands of spectators with the achievement. In the race Reip and the team were hampered by an early race ‘drive’ issue related ironically to an ‘old tech’ part on the car.

Aston had looked set for a one-two finish in LMGTE Am with Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Christoffer Nygaard making the early running in the #98 car. But they suffered a similar power-steering issue that the Pro-entry encountered and the #95 car of Kristian Poulsen, David Heinemeier-Hansson and Nicki Thiim moved ahead, surviving some unscheduled pit visits to beat the #88 Proton Competition Porsche and the #61 AF Corse Ferrari.

A trio of US based teams finished in the top ten in the LMGTE Am class with 8 Star taking 4th, Dempsey Racing 5th and Krohn Racing in 10th place. All were delighted to finish the gruelling 2014 edition of the race.

The 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours will be remembered for a mighty battle between the ‘big three’ of Audi, Toyota and Porsche, as well as an engrossing LMGTE Pro battle between three separate manufacturers (Chevrolet, Aston Martin and Porsche.) It was witnessed by 262,000 people over the weekend, the largest crowd at Le Mans for a quarter of a century.

Latest Photos

Latest Video

Kellymoss provides drivers a path to the IMSA WeatherTech Championship

Friday August 25, 2023
[/et_pb_section]
[/et_pb_section]