Audi drivers Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Tom Kristensen pulled out a dominant performance to win their second successive 24 Hour of Le Mans.

The trio headed an Audi 1-2 result with team-mates Dindo Capello, Laurent Aiello and Christian Pescatori taking second spot.

The thousands of visiting British fans also had something to cheer about with Bentley taking the final spot on the podium in their long awaited return.

Brit Andy Wallce was joined by Butch Leitzinger and Eric van de Poele in the Bentley.

Despite being caught out on slick tyres when a torrential downpour struck the circuit after only four laps, the two Audi cars dominated proceedings throughout the night despite the on-going wet conditions.

The lap four downpour caught out many leading contenders including the Gulf Audi of Stefan Johansson who crashed.

"This was the hardest race I have every been in," Kristensen said.

"The conditions were unbelievable and you actually had to go so slow to keep the car on the road in the rain."

Team-mate Frank Biela also paid tribute to the Reinhold Joest led Audi crew.

"This year was really difficult and I am absolutely delighted to win it again," Biela said.

"My team-mates did a brilliant job and I have to hand it to the mechanics. A race like this is a real team sport and they were outstanding in very trying conditions."

The winning squad dedicated the victory to the late Audi driver, Michele Alboreto, who was killed while testing for the German marque in preparation for Le Mans.

Aussie David Brabham was forced out at 2.00am with electrical problems in his Panoz caused by the wet conditions.

The water caused dramas for other leading contenders including the Jan Lammers Dome, the second Bentley of Martin Brundle and the two privateer Audis of Johansson and Johnny Herbert.

The American Corvette squad took the GTS victory with Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Scott Pruett while the Seikel Motorsport squad pulled out a brilliant result in GT to actually finish 6th outright and win the class.

<pre> RESULT

1. - Biela/Pirro/Kristensen - Audi - 320 laps 2. ­ Capello/Aiello/Pescatori ­ Audi ­ 319 laps 3. ­ Wallace/Leitzinger/van de Poele ­ Bentley ­ 305 laps 4. ­ Beretta/Wendlinger/Lamy ­ Chrysler ­ 297 laps 5. ­ Deletraz/Fabre/Gene ­ Reynard - 283 laps 6. ­ Rosa/Babini/Drudi ­ Porsche (GT) ­ 282 laps 7. ­ Jeannette/Dumas/Haezebrouck ­ Porsche (GT) ­ 281 laps 8. ­ Fellows/O¹Connell/Pruett ­ Corvette (GTS) ­ 277 laps 9. ­ Perrier/Neugarten/Smith ­ Porsche (GT) ­ 274 laps 10. ­ Chereau/Dumez/Guoeslard ­ Porsche (GT) ­ 273 laps

-Paul Ryan