Audi's Italian-German duo take Le Mans

18th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

LE MANS, France, June 18, 2006 (AFP) - Italian Emanuele Pirro and German duo Frank Biela and Marco Werner drove Audi to an historic victory in the Le Mans 24 hour race on Sunday.

LE MANS, France, June 18, 2006 (AFP) - Italian Emanuele Pirro and German duo Frank Biela and Marco Werner drove Audi to an historic victory in the Le Mans 24 hour race on Sunday.

The Audi R10 finished four laps ahead of the Pescarolo driven by France's Franck Montagny, world rally champion Sébastien Loeb and Eric Helary to become the first diesel-powered car to win the famous endurance race.

But there was disappointment for Dane Tom Kristensen whose bid for a record seventh win in a row and eighth overall were hit by a series of mechanical problems in the other Audi R10.

The Audi of Kristensen, Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello finished in third place, 13 laps behind the winners.

"It's a big day for Audi and diesel," said Pirro, who was at the wheel at the finish line as the German team claimed a sixth win at Le Mans in the last seven years.

It is also the fourth victory for the Biela-Pirro tandem after success of 2000, 2001 and 2002, and the second consecutive win for Werner.

"There are only 12 cylinders in this car but there are above all a lot of people who worked so that this project would succeed," said Pirro.

"Audi is a big business but everyone works well together."

McNish said: "We couldn't have dreamed that there would be no problems with both cars. Le Mans is like 16 Grand Prix races one after another and I'm delighted that Audi succeeded in taking the first and third places.

"It's been an incredible race."

Kristensen's hopes were dashed on Saturday afternoon after a fuelling problem saw his team drop to 16th place.

The team spent over an hour in the garage sorting out mechanical problems with the gearbox and a faulty turbo.

"It's been a fantastic day for Audi," said Kristensen.

"We did the best we could with the new technology. But the public support was great, it's the real spirit of Le Mans," added the Dane, who was supported by over 30,000 of his compatriots who travelled to western France.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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