As Audi has retained the title at Le Mans, Toyota held the lead for long with its TS040 HYBRID N.7 and finished third with its N.8.
Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastien Buemi bring to the Japanese brand its fifth podium at Le Mans behind two Audi teams. The English, the French and the Swiss also strengthened their lead in the Championship standings. However, the result disappointed the Japanese carmaker considering how the race developed.
Starting from pole on board of the N.7, Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima were ran strong in the first part of the race, controlling all their opponents. Their stroll however ended around 5:30 am due to an electric loom failure.
The Audi N.1 (Tom Kristensen, Marc Gené – who replaced Loïc Duval, who crashed on Tuesday – Luca Di Grassi) inherited the lead, but also experiencing reliability issues and had to change their turbo. Porsche, for its return to the race, found its at the lead a about 11 o’clock on Sunday morning, but was also caught by mechanical problems while Mark Webber was at the wheel. His retirement paved the way for Audi’s double with Benoît Treluyer, Marcel Fässler and André Lotterer, who also had to change their turbo, crowned for the third time.
Behind the R18s, the Toyota N.8, involved in an accident early in the race after a downpour, which costed them 50 minutes, was propelled to the podium.
263,300. – The attendance was the highest peak in the last 20 years. The decades go by but the enthusiasm remains for this legendary event in France.
“It breaks my heart, I have no word.” It will take time for Kazuki Nakajima to forget the power failure that forced him out at halfway point on the TS040 HYBRID No. 7, which was then almost a lap ahead.
Audi won its 13th Le Mans victory, missing only two success since 2000. But competition and reliability problems for all favorites have made it their “hardest” according to team boss Wolfgang Ullrich.
Circuit of the Americas 6 Hours (Austin, USA, 17-20 September)