Audi once again dominates Le Mans for the second consecutive time with the hybrid R18 e-tron quattro race car. Loic Duval's qualifying time of 3:22.349 has enabled the team to start the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position with teammates Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish. This made Kristensen claim his ninth Le Mans victory. Following the winning race car was Toyota Racing's No.8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Stephane Sarrazin which was followed by the No.3 Audi R18 of Jarvis-Gené-di Grassi taking the third spot in the podium.
“We knew that, not least due to the regulatory requirements, it would be very difficult for us this year,” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “As expected, Toyota was a very strong rival – but our Audi R18 e-tron quattro was in a class of its own. My thanks go to the entire team that worked for months to achieve this success.”
Meanwhile, the No.24 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan of Olivier Pla-Alex Brundle-David Heinmeier led the LMP2 category ahead of the 22-vehicle grid which was followed by the No.26 Oreca 03 Nissan of G-Drive Racing with Greaves Motorsport's No.42 Zytek Z11SN - Nissan finishing third place.
The 90th Anniversary of Le Mans was overshadowed by two tragic deaths clouded the mood at Audi on Saturday: At Le Mans, Aston Martin driver Allan Simonsen succumbed to the injuries he sustained in a serious accident shortly after the start. At the VLN race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife,‘Wolf Silvester’ died at the wheel of an Opel Astra presumably due to health problems.
"For me, Le Mans was filled with very personal emotions this time. I’m proud to drive for the world’s best team. This applies to all team-mates, all employees in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm and for Audi Sport Team Joest. They make it possible for us to realize a dream. Now this dream has come true again – winning the fastest and toughest race under the direction of Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. Unfortunately, we lost someone yesterday (with Allan Simonsen) who had the same dream. He was a very modest and nice person. That’s why I’m experiencing highs and lows this time." said Tom Kristensen