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