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