Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer were left delighted at successfully defending their Le Mans 24 Hours title with victory in the 80th running of the race.
Twelve months after flying the flag for Audi against the challenge of Peugeot, the trio came out on top of a huge battle against the sister R18 e-tron Quattro to secure a history first win at the Circuit de la Sarthe for a hybrid car.
Victory was secured when Allan McNish crashed the #1 car in the closing hours, with the #2 car having also survived a brush with the barriers after Fassler was forced to run wide at Mulsanne Corner to avoid a spinning GTE Corvette.
“This was an incredible race,” he said. “There were so many highs and low – especially for me. I had a great team. The mechanics gave everything after the accident to repair the car as quickly as possible. As always, my driver colleagues did a fantastic job too. For Audi, this is a great day. Clinching not just victory but a one-two result with the new technology of the e-tron quattro is a brilliant feat.”
Lotterer was given the honour of bringing the car home to the finish after another dramatic race for the German squad and he said it was a fantastic feeling to be victorious again.
“The new Audi R18 e-tron quattro is very strong and gave us a lot of confidence,” he said. “It's brilliant to have won yet again! That's an incredibly nice feeling. It was a really strenuous race. A year ago, we were battling against Peugeot and this year against Toyota at the beginning of the race. Unfortunately, our rival retired. But we contested a very fierce race against car #2 in our team as well.
“Audi Sport allowed all of us to give everything. It was real racing, and in your own team that's particularly interesting. Last year, we were running against Peugeot by ourselves after two major accidents. This year, the trust among the entire squad has grown even further. Competing with Audi continues to be very special.”
Audi Motorsport boss Wolfgang Ullrich was also thrilled with the victory, which means Audi is now the first hybrid winner as well as the first to have won with diesel power.
“This is no doubt a historic victory for Audi,” he said. “We were the first to win Le Mans with a direct-injection turbo gasoline engine and the first to be successful with a diesel engine. It's a great result that Audi is now the first brand to have achieved victory with a hybrid vehicle – and right on the first run, as before with the two other technologies, and – what's more – with both R18 e-tron quattro cars on the two top spots. That was an outstanding achievement by the entire squad, naturally with support from Audi's Technical Development too, as we're always working very closely together with the people who are developing our cars of tomorrow for the customers.”