Sunday, June 15, 2014

Audi Wins Wild 2014 24 Hour of Le Mans

The #2 Audi R18 of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer, and Benoit Treluyer are your winners of the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 82nd running of the famous endurance race. This win gives Audi its 13th overall 24 Hours of Le Mans victory and fifth in a row. The #1 Audi placed second with the # 8 Toyota TS 040 rounding out the podium of a wild race that saw each of the three manufacturers take the lead at one point or another. Brand new rules for 2014 saw Porsche enter as the third major manufacturer, each one with their own take on a hybrid powertrain. None of the top teams were able to run a clean race with multiple mechanical and electrical gremlins along the way. In the end, Audi once again proved to be the best combination of speed, reliability, fixability and teamwork to add another trophy to its collection.

Toyota started with the lead and pulled ahead clearly showing more pace than the Audi and Porsche. Only a few hours into the race heavy rain created chaos on the track with a multi car accident forcing the #3 Audi out of the race and causing heavy damage to the #8 Toyota. Eventually the track dried and saw the #7 Toyota build up a nearly 3 minute lead over the #1 Audi thanks to quick running and a couple of safety cars. The #7 would go on to dominate the race until the 15 hour mark when it stopped on track during the nighttime darkness giving the lead to the rebuilt from scratch #1 Audi and a potential 10th career win at Le Mans for Tom Kristensen. However, that would not be the case as Tom found his #1 Audi stopped on track a few hours later. The #1 crawled back into the pits in need of a turbocharger change much like the #2 Audi needed a little earlier. This latest mechanical breakdown gave the #20 Porsche 919 the lead of almost two minutes with four hours to go but Andre Lotterer was flying taking huge chunks of time from the Porsche lead. A little more than an hour later had Andre taking over the lead as the #20 was showing a serious lack of pace even compared to its sister car. The slow laps continued for Mark Webber until the #20 slowed to a crawl on the track and crawled into the pits giving the rebuilt #8 Toyota the final podium spot. Only a few moments later the #14 Porsche came into the pits for a lengthy stop as well. The Zytek Nissan Jota Sport team took the win in P2 while the AF Course Ferrari 458 Italia took the GT Pro honors. Aston Martin took the win in the GT AM category.

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