H24: Audi triumphs in Le Mans classic

Andre Lotterer handed Audi victory in a classic Le Mans 24 Hours, taking the chequered flag less than 10s ahead of Simon Pagenaud in the nearest #9 Peugeot

H24: Audi triumphs in Le Mans classic

The final 30 minutes were a fitting end to what has been a spectacular race, with the #2 Audi proving equal to everything Peugeot could throw at it - and even coming close to lap record pace in the final 20 minutes.

With both cars needing to pit one final time, Pagenaud in the Peugeot upped his pace and regularly dipped under the 3m30s bracket, only to see Lotterer in the Audi respond by going even faster.

The #2 Audi made its final stop on lap 343, and it was immediately followed in by Pagenaud in the Peugeot, just 24s down the road. The German marque then rolled the dice by electing to change tyres, while the #9 908 opted just for fuel and consequently came out just seven seconds behind.

Lotterer quickly extended that advantage to more than 10s, which gave him a small but precious comfort barrier as traffic and spots of rain in the final 20 minutes threatened to add more drama to an already enthralling Le Mans.

Pagenaud was relentless in his pursuit of the Audi, however, keeping the gap below 20s to ensure the Audi could not afford even the slightest mistake.

Under such scrutiny Lotterer proved faultless, claiming an incredible and richly deserved victory in a classic edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Nicolas Minassian ensured Peugeot took the bottom two steps of the podium, finishing third in the #8, while Marc Gene finished fourth in the sister #7 car.

Nicolas Lapierre finished fifth in the #10 Matmut Peugeot, ahead of Neel Jani in the sole surviving petrol LMP1 car, the #12 Rebellion Lola.

Olivier Lombard took an emphatic victory in LMP2 for the #41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan, which finished with a lead of more than seven laps.

Soheil Ayari in the #26 Signatech Nissan took the flag in second in LMP2, less than one lap clear of the #33 Level 5 Motorsports Lola-HPD in third.

Antonio Garcia continued to stretch the lead of the #73 Corvette at the head of the GTE Pro field, finishing more than one lap clear of the #51 AF Corse Ferrari. Third went to the #56 BMW M3 GT.

The #50 Larbre Competition Corvette meanwhile took victory by just over one lap in the GTE Am class.

NOTES:

- Jan Magnussen lost control of the GTE Pro-leading #74 Chevrolet Corvette and crashed into the #63 Proton Porsche during the 17th hour, putting both cars out.

- Jean-Christophe Boullion crashed the Rebellion Lola-Toyota in the 14th hour at the Porsche Curves. He had been running eighth at the time of the shunt.

- Mike Rockenfeller was taken to hospital following a frightening accident that totally destroyed the #1 Audi in the seventh hour of the race. The German had been running third when he made contact with a GTE Ferrari at kink after Mulsanne. Audi later confirmed that the German would be kept in overnight for observation but that he was okay.

- The #3 Audi of Allan McNish crashed out of the race in the first hour having just taken second position. The Scot collected the #58 Luxury Racing Ferrari in the right-hander after the Dunlop Bridge. The heavy impact destroyed the car and McNish was taken to hospital for precautionary checks, but was later released with an all-clear.

- Both Aston Martin AMR Ones ran into trouble on the first lap of the race. Darren Turner spinning with mechanical trouble and Adrian Fernandez stopping out on the Mulsanne. The #007 car of Turner was recovered to the pits where it was discovered an alternator belt tensioner was to blame.

POSITIONS AFTER 24 HOURS Pos Car Team Class Gap 1. #2 Audi Audi Sport Team Joest (LMP1) 2. #9 Peugeot Team Peugeot Total (LMP1) + 13.854 3. #8 Peugeot Peugeot Sport Total (LMP1) + 2 Laps 4. #7 Peugeot Peugeot Sport Total (LMP1) + 4 Laps 5. #10 Peugeot Team Oreca-Matmut (LMP1) + 16 Laps 6. #12 Lola Rebellion Racing (LMP1) + 17 Laps 7. #22 Lola Kronos Racing (LMP1) + 27 Laps 8. #41 Zytek Greaves Motorsport (LMP2) + 29 Laps 9. #26 Oreca Signatech Nissan (LMP2) + 35 Laps 10. #33 Lola Level 5 Motorsports (LMP2) + 36 Laps 11. #73 Corvette Corvette Racing (GTEP) + 41 Laps 12. #36 HPD RML (LMP2) + 41 Laps 13. #51 Ferrari AF Corse (GTEP) + 41 Laps 14. #49 OAK OAK Racing (LMP2) + 42 Laps 15. #56 BMW BMW Motorsport (GTEP) + 42 Laps 16. #77 Porsche Team Felbermayr-Proton (GTEP)  + 43 Laps 17. #76 Porsche IMSA Performance Matmut (GTEP) + 44 Laps 18. #80 Porsche Flying Lizard Motorsports (GTEP) + 45 Laps 19. #40 Oreca Race Performance (LMP2) + 51 Laps 20. #50 Corvette Larbre Competition (GTEA) + 53 Laps 21. #70 Porsche Larbre Competition (GTEA) + 54 Laps 22. #65 Lotus Lotus Jetalliance (GTEP) + 60 Laps 23. #75 Porsche Prospeed Competition (GTEP) + 62 Laps 24. #66 Ferrari JMW Motorsport (GTEP) + 65 Laps 25. #35 OAK OAK Racing (LMP2) + 67 Laps 26. #68 Ford Robertson Racing (GTEA) + 70 Laps 27. #83 Ferrari JMB Racing (GTEA) + 83 Laps 28. #44 Norma Extr (LMP2) + 108 Laps 29. #16 Pescarolo Pescarolo Team (LMP1) Retired 30. #55 BMW BMW Motorsport (GTEP) Retired 31. #74 Corvette Corvette Racing (GTEP) Retired 32. #81 Porsche Flying Lizard Motorsports (GTEA) Retired 33. #48 Oreca Team Oreca-Matmut (LMP2) Retired 34. #63 Porsche Proton Competition (GTEA) Retired 35. #13 Lola Rebellion Racing (LMP1) Retired 36. #61 Ferrari AF Corse (GTEA) Retired 37. #59 Ferrari Luxury Racing (GTEP) Retired 38. #71 Ferrari AF Corse (GTEP) Retired 39. #88 Porsche Team Felbermayr-Proton (GTEP) Retired 40. #42 HPD Strakka Racing (LMP2) Retired 41. #60 Aston Gulf AMR Middle East (GTEA) Retired 42. #39 Lola PeCom Racing (LMP2) Retired 43. #89 Ferrari Hankook Team Farnbacher (GTEP) Retired 44. #58 Ferrari Luxury Racing (GTEP) Retired 45. #64 Lotus Lotus Jetalliance (GTEP) Retired 46. #57 Ferrari Krohn Racing (GTEA) Retired 47. #24 OAK OAK Racing (LMP1) Retired 48. #1 Audi Audi Sport Team Joest (LMP1) Retired 49. #5 Oreca Hope Racing (LMP1) Retired 50. #62 Ferrari CRS Racing (GTEA) Retired 51. #15 OAK OAK Racing (LMP1) Retired 52. #79 Aston Jota (GTEP) Retired 53. #20 Zytek Quifel-ASM Team (LMP1) Retired 54. #3 Audi Audi Sport North America (LMP1) Retired 55. #007 AMR-One Aston Martin Racing (LMP1) Retired 56. #009 AMR-One Aston Martin Racing (LMP1) Retired 
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