By Kris Hansen


    In order to win, first you must finish.

    Going into this year’s 24 hours, Audi was on paper a decided underdog. We say on paper because in previous encounters with their chief rivals Toyota and Porsche, the Audi R18 e-tron quattros showed decidedly slower in many cases than the others. The Audi squad faced teething issues with their new R18, as well as some massive crashes, which required building new cars more often than normal.

    The 24 hours started relatively well for Audi, right up till the #1 R18 e-tron quattro with Loic Duval at the wheel somehow left the track and became completely destroyed, during the first practice session. Audi were able to build a completely new car overnight in time for qualifying, but Duval was deemed unfit for the race, requiring the call up of Marc Gene.

    After the dust of qualifying had settled, the on paper predictions seemed to be holding true, with the 3 Audis firmly behind their rivals on the grid. Knowing what we know about Audi and the 24 Hours of Le Mans though, we knew that anything is possible, and Audi have a way of making things happen when others can not.

    When the green flag fell, as usual Audi showed that their qualifying pace was essentially their race speed, and they were able to truly match Porsche and Toyota when they ran their own race speed. Audi were working their way up through the pack, when during a period of very heavy rain the #3 car was hit from several directions in a significant crash, taking that car from the race.

    As the race went on, the remaining #1 and #2 Audi were showing major pace, running very well solidly in the top 5 consistently. As we’ve know for a very long time though, outright pace is only part of what it takes to win this amazingly tough race. As the hours and miles wore on, the machines started wearing down. The car that had been strongest in terms of speed was the #7 Toyota, suffered a mechanical failure effectively handing the race to Audi, it became a question of which Audi would win.

    It did seem that we’d be seeing the #1 car of Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené and Tom Kristensen take it, but ultimately a mechanical problem of their own put them several laps down to their sister car, the #2 of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer, who ultimately became 3 time Le Mans 24 Hours winners.

    This Audi victory proves more than ever that, in order to win, first you must finish.

    Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît TréluyerFilipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvislemans-14-210Marco BonanomiFilipe AlbuquerqueOliver Jarvislemans-14-263Tom Kristensenlemans-14-257Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyerlemans-14-269lemans-14-40Filipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomilemans-14-52lemans-14-27Loïc Duval, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Sport)Loïc Duval - Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)lemans-14-279Oliver Jarvis, Filipe AlbuquerqueAutograph SessionFilipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomi, Oliver JarvisFilipe Albuquerquelemans-14-15Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyerlemans-14-33lemans-14-6Safety Carlemans-14-237lemans-14-212lemans-14-271Loïc Duval, Allan McNish, Tom KristensenDr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Sport)lemans-14-31lemans-14-39lemans-14-156Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît TréluyerAudi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)lemans-14-251Audi R18 e-tron quattroSafety Carlemans-14-244lemans-14-270lemans-14-16lemans-14-5Lucas di Grassilemans-14-74lemans-14-106Oliver Jarvis, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Sport), Marco Bonanomilemans-14-218Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît TréluyerTom Kristensen, Loïc Duvallemans-14-215André Lottererlemans-14-46lemans-14-18lemans-14-81lemans-14-94lemans-14-154lemans-14-219lemans-14-230lemans-14-232lemans-14-253lemans-14-296lemans-14-21Autograph Sessionlemans-14-252lemans-14-80lemans-14-97lemans-14-124lemans-14-84Lucas di Grassi, Tom Kristensen, Marc GenéLoïc Duvallemans-14-220Safety Carlemans-14-8lemans-14-89lemans-14-211lemans-14-10lemans-14-14Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît TréluyerOliver JarvisBenoît Tréluyerlemans-14-205lemans-14-245Lucas di Grassi, Tom Kristensen, André Lottererlemans-14-170lemans-14-241Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Sport)lemans-14-151lemans-14-19lemans-14-44lemans-14-258lemans-14-240lemans-14-85Filipe AlbuquerqueHans-Joachim Stuck, Marcel FässlerLucas di Grassi, Tom Kristensen, Marc Genélemans-14-103lemans-14-100Oliver Jarvislemans-14-77lemans-14-20lemans-14-248Benoît Tréluyer - Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)Lucas di Grassilemans-14-82Chris Reinke (Head of LMP), Marcel FässlerBenoît Tréluyerlemans-14-11Tom KristensenLoïc Duval, Allan McNish, Tom Kristensenlemans-14-76lemans-14-30Lucas di Grassi, Tom Kristensen, Marc GenéTechnik - Audi R18 e-tron quattroTom Kristensenlemans-14-17Benoît Tréluyerlemans-14-295lemans-14-91Tom Kristensen, Lucas di Grassilemans-14-255lemans-14-26lemans-14-45lemans-14-200lemans-14-12lemans-14-206Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyerlemans-14-2lemans-14-250lemans-14-286lemans-14-102lemans-14-66lemans-14-58lemans-14-242lemans-14-289lemans-14-24lemans-14-114lemans-14-13Tom Kristensenlemans-14-260lemans-14-256lemans-14-34lemans-14-259lemans-14-293Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Sport)lemans-14-298lemans-14-43lemans-14-265lemans-14-79Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyerlemans-14-224lemans-14-266lemans-14-229lemans-14-60Marcel Fässler, André Lottererlemans-14-71lemans-14-101lemans-14-254lemans-14-199lemans-14-249Tom Kristensen, Oliver Jarvis, Filipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomilemans-14-198lemans-14-288Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Sport)Fernando Alonso, Allan McNishlemans-14-209lemans-14-285lemans-14-297lemans-14-125lemans-14-9lemans-14-99lemans-14-64lemans-14-273lemans-14-261lemans-14-63lemans-14-107lemans-14-239lemans-14-88Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyerlemans-14-83lemans-14-246Audi R18 e-tron quattroMarco BonanomiTom Kristensenlemans-14-32lemans-14-129lemans-14-247lemans-14-123lemans-14-87lemans-14-98lemans-14-243lemans-14-153lemans-14-72lemans-14-226Oliver Jarvis, Marcel Fässlerlemans-14-57Marco Bonanomi, Filipe Albuquerque, Marcel Fässler, Oliver Jarvislemans-14-158lemans-14-208lemans-14-174lemans-14-69lemans-14-1lemans-14-214lemans-14-225lemans-14-78Lucas di Grassi, Tom Kristensen, Marc Genélemans-14-157lemans-14-92lemans-14-207lemans-14-267Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît TréluyerTom KristensenBenoît TréluyerLoïc Duval, Allan McNish, Tom Kristensenlemans-14-22lemans-14-86lemans-14-152lemans-14-7lemans-14-68Lucas di GrassiTom Kristensenlemans-14-127Filipe Albuquerquelemans-14-172Marco Bonanomilemans-14-25lemans-14-268Audi R18 e-tron quattrolemans-14-96lemans-14-95lemans-14-42Ralf Jüttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest), Chris Reinke (Head of LMP)lemans-14-213lemans-14-294Filipe AlbuquerqueAudi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)lemans-14-67lemans-14-155lemans-14-291Lucas di Grassi, Tom Kristensen, Marc Genélemans-14-28André Lotterer, Allan McNishlemans-14-223Ralf Jüttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest)lemans-14-238lemans-14-278André Lottererlemans-14-70lemans-14-233lemans-14-75lemans-14-283lemans-14-93Autograph Sessionlemans-14-231lemans-14-171lemans-14-228lemans-14-203Tom Kristensenlemans-14-284André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer, Marcel Fässlerlemans-14-196lemans-14-29lemans-14-105lemans-14-204Marco Bonanomilemans-14-150lemans-14-110Autograph Sessionlemans-14-236lemans-14-56lemans-14-59lemans-14-48lemans-14-90lemans-14-216lemans-14-41