AUDI UPSET THE ODDS WITH 1-2-3 AT LE MANS
The pinnacle of endurance racing took place at the weekend at Circuit de la Sarthe.
Before the race, many felt that a repeat of the 2009 success by Peugeot was a likely outcome; however fate was out to intervene.
Having outpaced the Audis all weekend and established a comfortable lead in the race, the Peugeots were hit with reliability issue which eventually saw all three factory cars retire. The Audis needed no invitation and apart from a small problem for Honorary Member, Tom Kristensen, and Full Member, Allan McNish’s car, the Audis were never troubled. The form card was re-written and the R15’s took the clean sweep instead of the fancied Peugeots.
The drama of the race transcended through all the classes, and LMP2 saw two of our Members take a fantastic win. Jonny Kane and Danny Watts drove a fantastic race along with Nick Leventis to win the class for Strakka Racing. Having secured pole in qualifying and despite pressure from the HPD of Highcroft Racing, piloted by Members Marino Franchitti and David Brabham along with Marco Werner, both the Strakka drivers created a substantial gap between them and the Highcroft car, before the latter’s challenge expired on Sunday morning. In addition to their class win, Strakka secured an extremely creditable 5th place overall.
GT1 was less entertaining than the rest of the classes, thus demonstrating why it is being dropped in 2011, but GT2 was a fascinating encounter with many BRDC Members enduring a challenging race.
Full Member, Richard Westbrook, enjoyed success as he and his driving partners, Timo Schneider and Marco Holzer, guided their Porsche 911 GT3-RSR to third in the GT2 class.
The class was a thrilling battle with the #82 Risi Ferrari and the #64 Corvette racing bumper to bumper for almost four hours. It was like a touring car race with the two cars never yielding to each other and the lead swapping hands constantly. Unfortunately, both cars had problems, which eventually proved terminal having driven so hard early on. This left the door open for #77 Felbmayr Porsche to cruise to victory on the 40th Anniversary of Porsche’s Maiden win.
The race was indeed a classic, full of drama and incidents with many falling victim to the demons of La Sarthe. Congratulations to the Members who enjoyed success as we look forward to the rest of the Le Mans Series season.