ALMS TEAMS DOMINATE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS- CHAMPION AUDI, KRISTENSEN CREATE HISTORY Le Mans, France - After countless hours of preparation, American Le Mans Series teams won the 24 Hours of Le Mans Championship and three of the four class wins at...
ALMS TEAMS DOMINATE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS- CHAMPION AUDI, KRISTENSEN CREATE HISTORY
Le Mans, France - After countless hours of preparation, American Le Mans Series teams won the 24 Hours of Le Mans Championship and three of the four class wins at the most prestigious and historic sports car race in the world.
In front of perhaps the largest crowd ever at the Circuit de la Sarthe, history was made, as the Dave Maraj owned Champion Audi became the first American based team to take the overall win at Le Mans since 1979 with Tom Kristensen becoming "Mr. Le Mans."
The No. 3 Champion Audi car of Kristensen, JJ Lehto and Marco Werner battled through 3,191 miles to win the overall 24 Hours of Le Mans title. Kristensen now sits alone on the record books as the only man in history to capture seven overall Le Mans victories. As if that was not enough, he has now won six consecutive overall titles at the 24 Hours as well as mounting a .777 win percentage having taken the checkered flag seven out of his last nine attempts.
"We never knew which way the race would go," said Kristensen. "The Audi never missed a beat. Dave believed in his boys and his toy, the Audi. Reliability proved its point today and that's why we came out on top in the end."
For Maraj, the win is something that is hard to put into words as his two Audi R8s finished first and third overall.
"This is a lifetime achievement," said Maraj. "This is very good for America and I am very, very proud."
Current ALMS point leaders Lehto and Werner have added to their long list of achievements. Lehto adds a second Le Mans overall victory to his belt while Werner celebrates his first ever. For Lehto, the 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans marks the 10th anniversary since his first overall win at Circuit de la Sarthe.
"It is so great, I can't even say," commented Lehto. "It was such a hard race for us but the car was reliable - no problems for us. Its fantastic!"
Teammate Werner could not agree more.
"I can't say how special it is," said Werner. This is much more than Daytona, it's the best race in the world. I am so happy and want to say thanks to the whole team."
Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan - "We're here to defend the hill and that's exactly what we'll do."
That's exactly what Corvette Racing accomplished demonstrating why they are the GT1 class team to beat with a one-two finish at Le Mans with the Le Mans debut of the Corvette C6-R. The No. 64 Corvette of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen finished on top of the GT1 podium followed closely by their No. 63 teammates Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Max Papis.
As a result of the victory, Gavin and Beretta achieved their third class victories while Magnussen added a second to his belt.
"The crew pushed very hard," said GT1 winner Beretta. "The C6 is a strong and safe car. Thanks to everyone in America and at Chevrolet."
ALMS teams finished the GT2 class with a clean sweep. Alex Job Racing/BAM! finished just minutes ahead of Petersen/White Lightning Racing going for its third consecutive Le Mans GT2 victory followed closely by Flying Lizard Motorsports making its inaugural run in the 24 Hours.
This is an especially sweet win for Leo Hindery as the 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans will be his last. Hindery with teammates Mike Rockenfeller and Marc Lieb outlasted Petersen/White Lightning giving all three drivers their first Le Mans victory.