Circuit de la Sarthe
The Exploits of Audi
The wonderful success of Audi in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a great achievement. After the violent accidents of McNish and Rockenfeller, victory looked doubtful, but the crew of the R18 TDI #2, was exceptional. The Audi #2 (Tréluyer / Lotterer / Fassler) won ahead of the 908 Peugeot #9 (Bourdais / Pagenaud / Lamy) and #8 driven by Minassian / Montagny / Sarrazin. Peugeot had tried everything, with its three cars chasing hard. Benoit Treluyer, who set the pole time, gave Audi a tenth success, after an eventful race in all categories.
Audi had a mixed 24 Hours of Le Mans. After a black Saturday, with accidents of Mc Nish (#3) and Rockenfeller (#1), the remaining R18 TD1, the crew of #2, had the job of erasing the images of the dreadful incidents from their minds. Fortunately the drivers were unharmed. Audi #2 resisted repeated attacks by Davidson (Peugeot 908, #7) and especially from the 908, #9 (Bourdais / Pagenaud / Lamy) in the struggle for victory. At midnight the Peugeot 908 was in attack mode, but the agility and speed of the Audi made all the difference. But the duel between Audi and Peugeot, did not overshadow the great battle of the 'petrol' prototypes. After a long fight with the Rebellion Lola-Toyota, #13 (Boullion / Bellichi / Smith) and at the end, the crash of Boullion Henri Pescarolo was smiling. Until the accident of Collard (#16), in the late morning of Sunday. This led to the Rebellion Lola-Toyota, #12 - (Prost / Jani / Bleekmolen) taking the honorary title as best petrol powered car of the category.
The battle between "small" protos was a treat, and the victory of the Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan, #41 (Ojjeh / Lombard / Kimber-Smith) demonstrates that to take care of the car is the first rule in endurance racing. First the Honda Racing Strakka #42 (Leventis / Watts / Kane) set an example in consistency, but a mechanical problem forced the team to retire. Leaving the lead of the team classification to the Oreca 03 Nissan #48 (Premat / Halliday / Kraihamer). David Hallyday destroyed the prototype, during the fourth race interruption in the early morning. The 03-Oreca Nissan Signatech the team of #26 (Mailleux / Ayari / Ordonez) had a complicated race. But it led to Philippe and his men winning a deserved second place. The podium was completed by American Level 5 Motorsports Lola Honda #33 (Bouchut / Tucker / Barbosa) who took third place. It is Frenchman Christophe Bouchut's 17th Le Mans!
LM GTE Pro
BMW had an ambitious dream of victory for the M3 GT but Le Mans is unforgivng. The #74 Corvette (Gavin / Magnussen / Westbrook), who initially benefited from the troubles of the German cars to take command before it ran off the track leading to retirement. The Ferrari (AF Corse), #51 (Fisichella / Bruni / Vilander) benefited from this, to take the lead ahead of the Corvette, #73 (Beretta / Milner / Garcia) and ran like clockwork to take the lead. The Ferrari had to be content with second place to the surviving BMW (Priaulx / D.Muller / Hand). The M3 GT, #56 mitigated the disappointment of the German manufacturer.
LM GTE Am
The pit boards were busy in this category. All competitors experienced the sometimes harsh reality of endurance racing. Incessant attacks, risk taking, in short, a frenzied race that was eventually won by the Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, #50 (Bornhauser / Canal / Gardel). Porsche dominated the morning but finally had to settle for second place, for the #70 Larbre Competition ( Bourret/Gibon/Belloc ). Jack Leconte, the happy team owner, achieved a double victory. On the last step of the podium was the Ford GT-Doran #68, (D. Robertson / A. Robertson / Murry) who took third place from the JMB Ferrari #83 at the very end of the race.
Fom the 24 hours of Le Mans, Audi score double points in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, as do all ILMC 2011 competitors. On the LM P1 podium, all thee steps were occupied by entrants who are participating in the Cup. At the manufacturers classification, Peugeot is still in the lead (103 points vs 69) but at the team classification, Audi Team Joest is now first.
In manufacturers LM GTE Pro the new leaders is Corvette in front for BMW and Ferrari. In LM P2 teams classification, the second place #26 Signatech Nissan and third place #33 Lola HPD of Level 5 Motorsport score valuable double points. In Team LM GTE Pro the BMW #56 and the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia are ILMC points scorers.