” Audi won Le Mans for the 13th time but only after a war of attrition that put all the leading teams through the wringer before Benoit Treluyer took the chequered flag to end one of the most dramatic 24 Hours in years.
The win was the third in four years for Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer in the #2 R18 e-tron quattro and marked another 1-2 for Audi as the #1 car of Tom Kristensen, Lucas Di Grassi and Marc Gene made a phenomenal recovery after a huge crash in Wednesday practice that wrecked the car and put team-mate Loic Duval in hospital.
Third was the #8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid of Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastien Buemi, marking another recovery drive in the race after an early accident while Porsche came tantalisingly close to the podium and even the winners’ spot but ultimately had the disappointment of both 919 Hybrids finishing more than 30 laps down on the winner.
The first few hours of the endurance epic were dominated by Toyota and the weather. Two torrential downpours would result in the #3 Audi of Oliver Jarvis, Felipe Albuquerque and Marco Bonanomi crashing out after being hit by Lapierre in #8 Toyota with just 90 minutes gone.
In difficult conditions under yellow, Lapierre came upon a group at speed, hitting a barrier and then the Audi. The then-leader of the GTE AM class, Sam Bird, in the #81 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia also hit the R18 and was out. Lapierre got the car back to the pits but the car was eight laps down when it restarted.”
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