Vorsprung durch human touch

Audi's Le Mans clean-sweep on Sunday had teutonic efficiency stamped all over it, to the extent that it was easy to forget the human side

Vorsprung durch human touch

Winning the French endurance classic, along with co-drivers Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, meant notched up his second victory, the first coming in 1997 in a TWR Porsche also run by Reinhold Joest, team boss of Audi's Le Mans squad. With two conquests of the great La Sarthe race to his name, what next for the Dane?

"Personally I would love to race with Joest Audi again," smiled Kristensen, "but you will have to ask Mr Joest as I have had my success with him. If he wants me to drive then great. As far as my immediate future goes, the main thing is to have a big party."

Despite its clinical-like performance, the German team could not escape all controversy. Perhaps the most discussed subject of the race was Audi team orders - and whether they existed. shed some light on the subject.

"The best thing about working with Dr Ullrich," said the Italian, "is that he trusts the drivers very much and relied upon our judgement not to do anything stupid, but he told us not to forget that we work for Audi. Between us drivers we had to rely on the common sense of each other, but there was of course no way it was a race right to the end."

Much attention has - not surnprisingly - been lavished upon the sleek, silver R8 LMPs, but did they drive as good as they looked? German seemed to think so.

"The new car is better than the old one for sure," enthused Biela. "Everything we learnt from last year came onto the new car and as a result we were very optimistic before coming here. The car worked perfectly."

Perfect it most certainly was and Le Mans 2000 will be remembered as Audi's race. The interesting bit comes when and if they return next year, and where the all-conquering drivers go from here.

For full results of Le Mans 2000 click here.

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