Audi R18 e-tron hybrids placed first and second at the 80th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans that just ended. The win is the first for a hybrid car in Le Mans competition and is another technical milestone for AUDI AG which now has eleven Le Mans victories.
After 378 laps, Audi No. 1, driven by last year’s winners Marcel Fässler of Switzerland, Germany’s André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer of France took the checkered flag in front of a crowd estimated at nearly 200,000. The team of Dindo Capello of Italy, Tom Kristensen of Denmark and Briton Allan McNish took the runner-up spot with the second R18 hybrid.
“By achieving this further success at the world’s most important endurance race our engineers demonstrated their high technological expertise in a particularly impressive way,” commented Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, who personally watched the race on location. “With the e-tron quattro in combination with ultra lightweight design, we put a completely new technology on the grid and immediately won with it – this cannot be taken for granted by any means, particularly here at Le Mans. This weekend again showed the type of things that can happen in this race and how important perfect preparation is.”
Italian rookie Marco Bonanomi, England’s Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller of Germany brought their conventionally powered R18 ultra came in third, completing the fourth one-two-three victory for Audi and the first since 2010. Frenchmen Romain Dumas and Loïc Duval and Spaniard Marc Gené brought the last Team Joest Audi across the line in fifth place.
With this latest win, Audi has extended its lead in the World Endurance Championship. The second-place finish returned Capello, Kristensen and McNish the top of the drivers’ world championship standings.