Audi needs some luck to win again, says Joest

The Audi team heads to this year's Le Mans 24 hour race as the definite favourite to win the French endurance classic for the second year in a row, but team director Reinhold Joest says it is not going to be all plain sailing for the Ingolstadt marque

Audi needs some luck to win again, says Joest

The Joest-run Audis finished first, second and third at Le Mans last year, with Tom Kristensen, Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro taking the top step on the podium. The R8s dominated from the outset and were never really threatened, but Joest insists there has to be an element of luck involved.

"Nobody can guarantee a victory at Le Mans," said Joest. "You need a fast and reliable car, the best drivers, perfect team work - but also the necessary amount of luck."

The R8 has been updated since last year to include new aerodynamics and suspension, but from the exterior it is largely unchanged. The two works cars have the extra threat of privateer entries this year, including the Champion Audi, driven by Formula 1 retiree Johnny Herbert, Ralf Kelleners and Didier Theys and also the Gulf-backed R8 of Stefan Johansson, Patrick Lemarie and Tom Coronel.

The driver line-up in the Joest cars remains much the same, with last year's winning trio of Kristensen, Pirro and Biela teaming up once again. In the sister car, Christian Pescatori replaces the late Michele Albereto to team up with Rinaldo Capello and Laurent Aiello.

"Christian has a lot of experience and has a lot of successes in sportscar racing," said Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi Sport. "Also decisive for the driver choice was Christian's height, which compares perfectly to his team mates - an important factor in endurance racing."

The cars take to the famous La Sarthe circuit for the first time on Wednesday and Thursday, with a four-hour qualifying session on each day.

Paul Belmondo will not be driving for his eponymous team at Le Mans this weekend after falling off his bicycle and hurting his wrist. The Former Formula 1 racer will be replaced by Belgian Vincent Vosse this weekend, who drives a Belmondo-run Viper in this year's FIA GT Championship.

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Le Mans countdown: Mark Blundell

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