Davidson denies gamesmanship

Anthony Davidson denied suggestions of gamesmanship in the 22nd hour of this year's Le Mans 24 Hours after his #9 Peugeot appeared to impede the progress of the leading #2 Audi, which was trying to lap him

Davidson denies gamesmanship

Davidson insisted afterwards that he had been given no orders to hold up eventual winner Andre Lotterer, who was being pursued by the Briton's team-mate Simon Pagenaud in the sister #8 car.

Davidson's car had been put out of contention after Alex Wurz crashed in the 19th hour, costing the team four laps in repairs.

Audi team principal Dr Wolfgang Ullrich eluded to 'games' being played, but Davidson pointed out that he was under no obligation to move over and the leader by, given that he was racing to recover his own car's position.

"Let's just get one thing straight," Davidson told AUTOSPORT. "I never received one team order whatsoever. All of that is just a whole load of BS in my opinion. I can't speak for other drivers.

"I didn't see any of it on-screen at the time but I wasn't told to do anything. I took my own initiative, as I know in sportscar racing now that the blue flags don't mean anything. And the Audi drivers happily held me up at Spa and I accept that because it seems to be part of the rule in endurance racing. So I had great fun playing with the Audi.

"And in a way when it was my turn to come up and overtake him and unlap myself you know that they are in a slightly weaker position because they are going to have to yield to allow a car that is not really racing them to go past. It was great fun, we had a great tussle."

Television pictures appeared to show Davidson shut the door on Lotterer on several occasions. While Davidson's team-mate Marc Gene and #2 Audi actually made contact into the second chicane once the Briton had handed over the car.

But Davidson said there was no intentional contact made and that given the lack of vision in modern coupe LMP1, it is difficult to know exactly where other cars on the track.

"I was just speaking to the other drivers and they said that it looked so close at times," he said. "But you are so enclosed in these cars that I could see him in the braking zones getting quite close in a straight line. But when you commit to the corner you can't see anything out of your peripheral vision and I only found out afterwards that apparently it was quite close on some moments when I turned in to the corner. I wasn't intentionally doing that.

"There was no contact. But you are oblivious in these things. Okay yeah in an open car you would have seen them, but you can't see.

"So it is a shame that Peugeot's efforts were tarnished with those comments, because it really wasn't like that at all. As drivers we just drove our hearts out, you don't have to yield under a blue flag in these races - which I think is a bit wrong and I have been on the other end of it myself a whole load of times. Particularly last year. But it is part and parcel of endurance racing apparently."

shares
comments
Audi wins dramatic Le Mans classic
Previous article

Audi wins dramatic Le Mans classic

Next article

Fassler hails 'incredible' race

Fassler hails 'incredible' race
Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023 Plus

Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023

OPINION: There is plenty of excitement over the glut of manufacturers tackling the Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship this season. The selection committee is set to face headaches over who it decides to admit and who gets turned away from the 2023 entry list, but history tells us that the smaller entrants have a place

WEC
Jan 9, 2023
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022
Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay? Plus

Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay?

OPINION: Fresh from hosting a controversial 2022 football World Cup, Qatar has added its name to the 2024 World Endurance Championship calendar. Although questions may be asked about its presence on the calendar, is it simply the price to pay for having a healthy racing championship?

WEC
Dec 21, 2022
How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title Plus

How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title

Toyota #8 trio Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa outscored their rivals in the last season before the World Endurance Championship’s top class gets ultra-competitive. Here's how their Hypercar battle with Alpine and the remaining class tussles played out in LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am

WEC
Dec 5, 2022
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Plus

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022