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.

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