There must be shouts of joy coming from the Audi factory as the Audi R15 TDI cruised to take first, second and third place at the 2010 Le Mans 24 hours endurance race. This will be Audi’s ninth win at the 8.4 mile circuit, but they still have some way to go before being able to topple Porsche’s record of 16 wins.
Drivers Timo Bernhard, Mike Rockenfeller and Romain Dumas were greeted by a chequered flag at the end of their grueling intensive race, completing 397 laps. They were followed by the other Audi cars of Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer a lap behind, while the Audi of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Dindo Capello were 3 laps behind.
All four Peugeot cars, who by the way were the firm favourite to win this year and secured the top four spots at qualifying, ran into car problems during the course of the race. This gave the Audis the chance to reclaim victory from the Pugs who won the event in 2009.
The surprise of this year’s event was the crash of 1992 Formula 1 champion Nigel Mansell in the 17th minute of the race. The 56 year old entered the race with his sons Greg and Leo in a Ginetta Zytek. The car spun and hit the guardrail at the entrance of the Mulsanne Straight. Mansell was taken to hospital but escaped without serious injuries.
The quote ‘it’s never about winning it’s how you play the game’ springs to mind when describing the teams within Le Mans, as even completing such an event is a reward in itself. In the end Audi’s patience and reliability put the team ahead of the faster Peugeot.