Andre Lotterer handed Audi victory in a classic Le Mans 24 Hours, taking the checkered flag less than 10sec ahead of Simon Pagenaud in the nearest Peugeot.
The final 30 minutes were a fitting end to what has been a spectacular race, with the No. 2 Audi proving equal to everything the No. 9 Peugeot could throw at it, even coming close to lap record pace in the final 20 minutes.
With both cars needing to pit one final time, Pagenaud in the Peugeot upped his pace and regularly dipped under the 3m30s bracket, only to see Lotterer in the Audi respond by going even faster.
The No. 2 Audi made its final stop on lap 343, and it was immediately followed in by Pagenaud in the Peugeot, just 24s down the road. The German marque then rolled the dice by electing to change tires, while the No. 9 908 opted just for fuel and consequently came out just seven seconds behind.
Lotterer quickly extended that advantage to more than 10sec, which gave him a small but precious comfort barrier as traffic and spots of rain in the final 20 minutes threatened to add more drama to an already enthralling Le Mans. Pagenaud was relentless in his pursuit of the Audi, however, keeping the gap below 20sec to ensure the Audi could not afford even the slightest mistake. Lotterer proved faultless, claiming a richly deserved victory in a classic edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Nicolas Minassian ensured Peugeot took the bottom two steps of the podium, finishing third in the No. 8, while Marc Gene finished fourth in the sister No. 7 car.
Nicolas Lapierre finished fifth in the No. 10 Matmut Peugeot, ahead of Neel Jani in the sole surviving petrol LMP1 car, the No. 12 Rebellion Lola.
Olivier Lombard took an emphatic victory in LMP2 for the No. 41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan, which finished with a lead of more than seven laps.
Soheil Ayari in the No. 26 Signatech Nissan took the flag in second in LMP2, less than one lap clear of the No. 33 Level 5 Motorsports Lola-HPD in third.
Antonio Garcia continued to stretch the lead of the No. 73 Corvette at the head of the GTE Pro field, finishing more than one lap clear of the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari. Third went to the No. 56 BMW M3 GT.
The No. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette meanwhile took victory by just over one lap in the GTE Am class.
- Jan Magnussen lost control of the GTE Pro-leading No. 74 Chevrolet Corvette and crashed into the No. 63 Proton Porsche during the 17th hour, putting both cars out.
- Jean-Christophe Boullion crashed the Rebellion Lola-Toyota in the 14th hour at the Porsche Curves. He had been running eighth at the time of the shunt.
- Mike Rockenfeller was taken to hospital following a frightening accident that totally destroyed the No. 1 Audi in the seventh hour of the race. The German had been running third when he made contact with a GTE Ferrari at kink after Mulsanne. Audi later confirmed that the German would be kept in overnight for observation but that he was okay.
- The No. 3 Audi of Allan McNish crashed out of the race in the first hour having just taken second position. The Scot collected the No. 58 Luxury Racing Ferrari in the right-hander after the Dunlop Bridge. The heavy impact destroyed the car and McNish was taken to hospital for precautionary checks, but was later released with an all-clear.
- Both Aston Martin AMR Ones ran into trouble on the first lap of the race. Darren Turner spinning with mechanical trouble and Adrian Fernandez stopping out on the Mulsanne. The No. 007 car of Turner was recovered to the pits where it was discovered an alternator belt tensioner was to blame.
POSITIONS AFTER 24 HOURS
Pos Car Team Class Gap
1. No. 2 Audi Audi Sport Team Joest (LMP1)
2. No. 9 Peugeot Team Peugeot Total (LMP1) + 13.854
3. No. 8 Peugeot Peugeot Sport Total (LMP1) + 2 Laps
4. No. 7 Peugeot Peugeot Sport Total (LMP1) + 4 Laps
5. No. 10 Peugeot Team Oreca-Matmut (LMP1) + 16 Laps
6. No. 12 Lola Rebellion Racing (LMP1) + 17 Laps
7. No. 22 Lola Kronos Racing (LMP1) + 27 Laps
8. No. 41 Zytek Greaves Motorsport (LMP2) + 29 Laps
9. No. 26 Oreca Signatech Nissan (LMP2) + 35 Laps
10. No. 33 Lola Level 5 Motorsports (LMP2) + 36 Laps
11. No. 73 Corvette Corvette Racing (GTEP) + 41 Laps
12. No. 36 HPD RML (LMP2) + 41 Laps
13. No. 51 Ferrari AF Corse (GTEP) + 41 Laps
14. No. 49 OAK OAK Racing (LMP2) + 42 Laps
15. No. 56 BMW BMW Motorsport (GTEP) + 42 Laps
16. No. 77 Porsche Team Felbermayr-Proton (GTEP) + 43 Laps
17. No. 76 Porsche IMSA Performance Matmut (GTEP) + 44 Laps
18. No. 80 Porsche Flying Lizard Motorsports (GTEP) + 45 Laps
19. No. 40 Oreca Race Performance (LMP2) + 51 Laps
20. No. 50 Corvette Larbre Competition (GTEA) + 53 Laps
21. No. 70 Porsche Larbre Competition (GTEA) + 54 Laps
22. No. 65 Lotus Lotus Jetalliance (GTEP) + 60 Laps
23. No. 75 Porsche Prospeed Competition (GTEP) + 62 Laps
24. No. 66 Ferrari JMW Motorsport (GTEP) + 65 Laps
25. No. 35 OAK OAK Racing (LMP2) + 67 Laps
26. No. 68 Ford Robertson Racing (GTEA) + 70 Laps
27. No. 83 Ferrari JMB Racing (GTEA) + 83 Laps
28. No. 44 Norma Extr (LMP2) + 108 Laps
29. No. 16 Pescarolo Pescarolo Team (LMP1) Retired
30. No. 55 BMW BMW Motorsport (GTEP) Retired
31. No. 74 Corvette Corvette Racing (GTEP) Retired
32. No. 81 Porsche Flying Lizard Motorsports (GTEA) Retired
33. No. 48 Oreca Team Oreca-Matmut (LMP2) Retired
34. No. 63 Porsche Proton Competition (GTEA) Retired
35. No. 13 Lola Rebellion Racing (LMP1) Retired
36. No. 61 Ferrari AF Corse (GTEA) Retired
37. No. 59 Ferrari Luxury Racing (GTEP) Retired
38. No. 71 Ferrari AF Corse (GTEP) Retired
39. No. 88 Porsche Team Felbermayr-Proton (GTEP) Retired
40. No. 42 HPD Strakka Racing (LMP2) Retired
41. No. 60 Aston Gulf AMR Middle East (GTEA) Retired
42. No. 39 Lola PeCom Racing (LMP2) Retired
43. No. 89 Ferrari Hankook Team Farnbacher (GTEP) Retired
44. No. 58 Ferrari Luxury Racing (GTEP) Retired
45. No. 64 Lotus Lotus Jetalliance (GTEP) Retired
46. No. 57 Ferrari Krohn Racing (GTEA) Retired
47. No. 24 OAK OAK Racing (LMP1) Retired
48. No. 1 Audi Audi Sport Team Joest (LMP1) Retired
49. No. 5 Oreca Hope Racing (LMP1) Retired
50. No. 62 Ferrari CRS Racing (GTEA) Retired
51. No. 15 OAK OAK Racing (LMP1) Retired
52. No. 79 Aston Jota (GTEP) Retired
53. No. 20 Zytek Quifel-ASM Team (LMP1) Retired
54. No. 3 Audi Audi Sport North America (LMP1) Retired
55. No. 007 AMR-One Aston Martin Racing (LMP1) Retired
56. No. 009 AMR-One Aston Martin Racing (LMP1) Retired