Immediately after the winners' press conference for the Le Mans 24 Hours, Timo Bernhard and Mike Rockenfeller offered a sense of how it feels to finish first in the world's most famous sports car race.
Q. How does it feel to have won Le Mans?
Timo Bernhard: It honestly hasn't sunk in yet. I really don't know. I will probably feel it tomorrow. That's what Tom said, and he had some experience of this! He knows how it feels. We talked about it, among the three of us, about how it would feel just to stand on the podium with the whole crowd on the bottom cheering and then a couple of days later we achieved that.
It was always a really good feeling when we got here, everything was really relaxed. Us three we had a really good spirit together, the No. 9 crew was very good. I had a good feeling and in the end it proved to be correct.
Q. How did it feel when you saw the leading Peugeot on fire?
Mike Rockenfeller: Well, I didn't see it. To be honest, I was sleeping when first one blew.
TB: Actually, he saw the No. 1 blow up and I saw the No. 2! I thought, when we were P2 overall, it was the No. 1 car because it had previous problems. They had been in the garage over night, so I thought it was them. I didn't believe was the leading car. Then our engineer radioed in and said we were P1 overall and I said "Wow, OK, special moment, but don't get distracted!"
Q. Did it get nerve-wracking towards the end of the race?
MR: Yeah definitely! For Timo in the car it was OK! But when I was in the car I was just over one lap ahead and we were fighting like hell, and the No. 1 was chasing us at the time. It passed me [to unlap itself] and their speed on the straight was incredible. And then I was behind it by about 200m when it had the engine failure. You have to say we appreciate having Peugeot here and having a rival with such speed. It makes the race so fantastic. It's unfortunate for them that they had so many problems but it makes it even sweeter to win against them. I think they have a great spirit as well. They are real racers and they showed great speed. For us it shows that we have three cars with no technical issues – which I think is outstanding as well.
Q. There was no difference in pace, either, between the three cars, so you didn't inherit this win in any way...
MR: I think all three cars were all the same pace, we made no mistakes, so I think we deserve it.
Q. So what happens now?
TB/MR: Party! Let's get it started.