Monday, June 18, 2012

Audi Sweep at Le Mans! Diesel-Hybrids 1-2; Diesel 3.

 LE MANS, FRANCE – It was certainly an impressive 24 hours for Audi. Sweeping all three podium spots with diesel engines, and the top 2 finishing cars hybrids at that! The #1 Audi e-tron diesel hybrid of Lotterer/Treluyer/Fessler took the checkered flag followed by the #2 Audi hybrid of Kristensen/McNish/Capello. The #3 Audi powered by a “conventional” diesel rounded out the podium. The Toyota hybrids ran well, but both suffered accidents, and placed no better than 4th. "This is no doubt a historic victory for Audi, explained Audi’s Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “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. (Read more: )

It is remarkable to note that the #2 Audi piloted by McNish was involved in a serious accident with a lower classed Porsche requiring the car to be nearly rebuilt. "I'm devastated, said McNish. “I'm sorry for our team: Dindo, Tom, the engineers and the mechanics. They did a perfect job throughout the race. Despite a few problems we were in contention for victory up to my accident.” (Read more: ).

 The Toyotas were both involved in important wrecks. The most spectacular was the #8 Toyota hybrid of Anthony Davidson which flipped in the air and smashed into the tire barrier at the end of the Mulsanne straight when it was clipped by one of the Ferrari GTE cars (Video ). Davidson was hospitalized and sustained two broken vertebrae. The #7 Toyota hybrid piloted by rookie Nakajima made contact with the innovative Nissan Deltawing causing it to hit the wall and ending its Le Mans effort with only 75 laps under its Deltawing. The accident happened as 5 P1 cars were overtaking the Deltawing. The 5th place Toyota tried to make a passing move on the 4th place Toyota, and seemingly not seeing the Deltawing, turned in and slammed into the Nissan ( Video ).
The privateer P2 class was won by the American No.44 Starworks Motorsport HPD ARX 03b driven by Kimber-Smith/Ryan Dalziel/Enzo Potolicchio. The next three spots were taken by the Oreca Nissans of by TDS Racing, Pecom Racing, and Signatech Nissan. "At Sebring we had a brand new car and we won, said Dalziel of Starworks. “At Spa, we had to do some work on the car but the Honda Performance Development chassis is perfect. We haven't got the pace of the Oreca chassis but we could do triple stints. I think that was the key to our success.”
The production based GTE class saw competitive racing even though it appeared that Ferraris dominated with 1st, 2nd, and 4th place finishes. The #51 AF Corse 458 Italia of Bruni/Fisecella/Vilander finished on top two laps ahead of the Luxury Racing 458 Italia. The #97 Aston Martin Vantage placed third completing the podium finishes. The #74 Corvette looked to be very competitive this year, but a series of mishaps including a foiled pit stop where the right-rear wheel was not properly secured cost them any serious

The GTE-Am amateur class saw an exciting finish with the Larbre Competition Corvette, prepared by Pratt and Miller Racing, drag raced to the finish with the IMSA Performance Porsche RSR of Poms/Anarac/Armindo. The pole-sitting #80 Flying Lizard Porsche RSR entry of went out in hour ten battling suspension issues then finally, an accident. The #79 Flying Lizard entry managed a 4th place finish.

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