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Audi wins at Le Mans

Peugeot do their best, but the lone Audi R18 to make it to the finish of the Le Mans 24 Hours does so on top of the pile
Despite losing a pair of cars to two of the biggest accidents seen at Le Mans in recent years, Audi saw off the determined - and at times controversial – challenge of Peugeot to secure victory in the 79th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The #2 R18 of Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer had been left to fly the flag for Audi after Allan McNish and Mike Rockenfeller were involved in huge accidents before midnight on Saturday.

McNish failed to make it past the hour mark when he clashed with the Ferrari of Anthony Beltoise at the Dunlop Curves and went off into the barriers at high-speed, with debris from his car flying into a photographers area on the side of the circuit.

Despite the violent nature of the accident, everyone involved escaped injury, with McNish later returning to the circuit after a brief check in hospital.

Rockenfeller meanwhile would depart the race in even more dramatic fashion after darkness had fallen, with the German forced onto the grass by Rob Kaufmann's GTE Ferrari at the kink after Mulsanne. Rockenfeller went off heavily into the barriers in an accident that left the #1 Audi little more than a pile of scrap metal, with Rockenfeller spending the night in hospital for observation as a result.

The #2 car was therefore left to fight against the three factory Peugeot's for more than half of the race, with Peugeot employing somewhat questionable tactics at times – with two separate incidents threatening to overshadow what would become a titanic battle for victory.

Both Anthony Davidson and Marc Gene was guilty of blocking the Audi despite being a number of laps down, with Gene actually making contact with the leader on two separate occasions.

As it was, the fight for victory came down to a final hour sprint between Lotterer in the Audi and Simon Pagenaud in the #9 Peugeot. On its final stop, Audi gambled on putting fresh tyres on which allowed the Peugeot to close in. Lotterer wasn't to be beaten however and responded whenever Pagenaud tried to up the pace to take victory by under 14 seconds.

Such was the fight to the finish, the traditional slowing down lap prior to the chequered flag had to be canned given how close the leading pair were.

Tagged as: Audi , Le Mans 24 Hours

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jimmy - Unregistered

June 12, 2011 2:33 PM

What a race, what a drama! A lone Audi outlasts Peugeots. This is really the ultimate motorsport event. Congratulations to every finishers - and winners especially!

nosense - Unregistered

June 12, 2011 2:59 PM

13 secs was the gap between Audi and Pug at the finish line...after 24h of Sprint Racing!!! Congrats to this two competitors for such a great party. I have to say we miss some names in the top category of endurance: Mercedes, BMW and Ferrari don't have Diesel expertise??? :p

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