Le Mans »

Audi takes 1-2-3 finish.

Audi's Dr Ullrich watched his proud legacy drive past the finishline in Le Mans at four in the afternoon in France as the Audi squad notched up record making 1-2-3. The win marks the first time in Le Mans history that the same driver combination has won three consecutive vicories at the classic race.

The lead Audi crossed the line 'driven' by Emanuele Pirro. As he neared the line however, his mind was less on the driving and more on affixing his trademark devil's horns to his helmet and undoing his belts so that he could cross the line stood up in the car! An entirely appropriate celebration for what looks like the last works entry to Le Mans from Audi with the R8.

The winning No.1 Audi, driven by the combination of Frank Biela, Tom Kritensen and Emanuele Pirro car had as near a faultless run as is possible at the La Sarthe circuit with the only real difficulty being the starter motor replacement required this morning. The replacement took the team a mere 4 minutes and meant that the No.1 car was pushed back a little closer to the No.2 Audi that had persued it for so long.

Overall standings saw the Audi followed home by the solitary Bentley, the British Green Racing machine coming home 13 laps adrift of the lead car, ten laps behind the third placed number three car.

In the LMP900 class it was the ORECA Dallara Judds which were next up behind the Audi. Despite being frequent visits to the pits in the course of the race the Beretta/Lamy/Comas car headed the Sarrazin/Montagy/Minasssian machine for a Noah's Ark style two by two finish across the line. Continuing the Noah's Ark analogy in the LM GTS class were the Corvettes, who whilst they didn't quite have time for the full wash and polish of last year for the photofinish, did at least make a pit visit as a pair for a quick bit of buffing. Fastest car overall on the Mulsanne straight the Prodrive Ferrari of Enge, Menu and Rydell fell out of the battle for the GTS win at half distance.

In contrast to the No. 1 car the No. 2 & 3 cars were plagued by punctures all race. The No.3 car even suffering on the formation lap. Following the Audi home was the sole LM GTP entry, looking good for next year at least when the works Audi effort looks set to finish.

American pride was also upheld in the GT class with Le Mans rookies The Racer's Group with the Buckler/Luhr/Bernhard combination heading Maassen/Bergmeister/Dumas in the Freisinger Motorsport entry home, on the same lap. The victory marks a noteable effort for the squad on its debut at the French classic.

The LMP675 class saw much drama through the race with the MG entries putting in sterling effort and running as high as fourth overall in the early stages. After the MG effort sadly expired on Sunday morning the class was left with a mere two cars to battle for the class win come four 'o'clock. And as the minutes ticked away and the end approached the rear suspension of the local WR Peugeot effort gave up the ghost. Limping back to the pits with a front wheel in the air the car looked certain to lose the class if not fail to finish the race. A new tyre applied the car went out for the final lap and managed to take the chequered flag with a least one member of the team personnel sat on the front to keep the front wheels on the ground. The class win was lost, but the distance had been run.

1. Biela/Kristensen/Pirro Audi Sport North America Audi R8 LMP 900 375 laps
2. Capello/Herbert/Pescatori Audi Sport North America Audi R8 LMP 900 374 laps
3. Krumm/Peter/Werner Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8 LMP900 372 laps
4. Wallace/Leitzinger/vd Poele Team Bentley Bentley EXP S8 LMP GTP 362 laps
5 Beretta/Lamy/Comas Playstation Team ORECA Dallara-Judd LMP 900 359 laps
6 Sarrazin/Montagny/Minassian Playstation Team ORECA Dallara-Judd LMP 900 359 laps
7. Ara/Dalmas/Katoh Audi Sport Japan/Team Goh Audi R8 LMP 900 358 laps
8. Lammers/Hillebrand/Coronel Racing for Holland Dome-Judd S101 LMP 900 351 laps
9. Taylor/Angelelli/Tinseau Team Cadillac Cadillac LMP02 LMP 900 344 laps
10. Bourdais/Boullion/Lagorce Pescarolo Sport Courage-Peugeot LMP 900 343 laps

LMP900/GTP

1. Biela/Kristensen/Pirro Audi Sport North America Audi R8 LMP 900 375 laps
2. Capello/Herbert/Pescatori Audi Sport North America Audi R8 LMP 900 374 laps
3. Krumm/Peter/Werner Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8 LMP900 372 laps
4. Wallace/Leitzinger/vd Poele Team Bentley Bentley EXP S8 LMP GTP 362 laps
5 Beretta/Lamy/Comas Playstation Team ORECA Dallara-Judd LMP 900 359 laps

LMP675

19. Deletraz/Lechner/Pillon ROC Organisation Course Reynard-VW LMP 675 317 laps
20. Daoudi/de Fournoux/Bouvet Welter Racing WR-Peugeot LMP 675 316 laps
no other runners

LMGTS

11. Fellows/O'Connell/Gavin Corvette Racing Corvette C5-R LM GTS 334 laps
13. Pilgrim/Collins/Freon Corvette Racing Corvette C5-R LM GTS 330 laps
14. Belloc/Cochet/Treluyer Equipe de France FFSA Chrysler Viper LM GTS 325 laps

LMGT

16. Buckler/Luhr/Bernhard The Racers Group Porsche 911 GT3 LM GT 321 laps
17. Maassen/Bergmeister/Dumas Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 LM GT 321 laps
21. Yogo/Iida/Nishizawa Team Taisan Advan Porsche 911 GT3 LM GT 316 laps


Related Pictures

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The winning Pirro/Kristensen/Biela crew celebrate an historic hat-trick
Start of the race
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Kristian Poulsen / David Heinemeier Hansson / Nicki Thiim Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8
Sergey Zlobin / Mika Salo / Anton Ladygin SMP Racing ORECA 03R Nissan
Rene Rast / Jan Charouz / Vincent Capillaire Sebastien Loeb Racing ORECA 03R - Nissan

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