Audi reigns supreme with hybrid vehicle at Le Mans

Predictably, Audi has won this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, making history in the process by achieving the first ever victory for a car with with hybrid drive, thanks to the innovative R18 e-tron quattro.

The #1 car of Lotterer, Fassler and Treluyer ran a relatively trouble-free race from pole postion, with its sister e-tron quattro, which lost almost a lap after stopping to have rubber debris removed its rear suspension, following it home in second place, and the #4 R18 ultra taking the third step of the podium. Toyota’s TS030s had initially threatened the Audis, but a spectacular flip involving Davidson and Perazzini’s Ferrari and engine failure for the other car saw the Japanese team retire for the weekend.

Notable incidents included Fässler twice hitting the barriers, once after a spin and once whilst avoiding a GT car, while McNish in the #2 car spun into the Porsche Curves barriers three hours from the end of the race. Amazingly, Audi Sport Team Joest managed to repair the heavy frontal damage in record time, retaining second place. The third place #4 car lost time after being called in for precautionary suspension checks, then suffered stuck gears on two occasions, which was cured after switching the ignition off and on again.

The #3 R18 ultra set the fastest lap of the race, and was in with a chance of winning the race, but two near-identical incidents put paid to that dream. Firstly, Dumas hit a dirty part of the track and slid against the barrier on Saturday night, with Gené suffering the same fate on Sunday noon. Even though the car was repaired both times, twelve laps – and the victory – had slipped through their fingers, so they had to be satisfied with fifth.

“This was a race of the kind you can arguably experience only at Le Mans. With the e-tron quattro in combination with ultra lightweight design, we put a completely new technology on the grid and immediately won with it – this cannot be taken for granted by any means, particularly here at Le Mans,” said a jubilant Rupert Stadler.

Top Ten Positions – After 24 Hours

Pos Car Drivers Class Laps Gap
1. #1 Audi Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer LMP1 378
2. #2 Audi McNish/Capello/Kristensen LMP1 377 + 1 Lap
3. #4 Audi Jarvis/Bonanomi/Rockenfeller LMP1 375 + 3 Laps
4. #12 Lola Prost/Heidfeld/Jani LMP1 367 + 11 Laps
5. #3 Audi Gene/Dumas/Duval LMP1 366 + 12 Laps
6. #22 HPD Brabham/Dumbreck/Chandhok LMP1 357 + 21 Laps
7. #44 HPD Potolicchio/Dalziel/K-Smith LMP2 354 + 24 Laps
8. #46 Oreca Thiriet/Beche/Tinseau LMP2 353 + 25 Laps
9. #49 Oreca Perez Companc/Kaffer/Ayari LMP2 352 + 26 Laps
10. #26 Oreca Ragues/Panciatici/Rusinov LMP2 351 + 27 Laps

[Source: Audi Motorsport]

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