Sunday 17 June 2012

Quotes after the Audi triumph at Le Mans

Quotes after the Audi triumph at Le Mans

Ingolstadt/Le Mans, June 17, 2012 - With the first victory of a hybrid vehicle at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Audi - in front of 240,000 spectators - has again gone down in motorsport history. Quotes after Audi’s eleventh Le Mans triumph.

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
"This is no doubt a historic victory for Audi. We were the first to win Le Mans with a direct-injection turbo gasoline engine and the first to be successful with a diesel engine. It’s a great result that Audi is now the first brand to have achieved victory with a hybrid vehicle - and right on the first run, as before with the two other technologies, and - what’s more - with both R18 e-tron quattro cars on the two top spots. That was an outstanding achievement by the entire squad, naturally with support from Audi’s Technical Development too, as we’re always working very closely together with the people who are developing our cars of tomorrow for the customers."

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): "What a race! It was a hot battle right at the beginning, as Toyota was a much tougher rival than many had been expecting. It’s a shame that both of their cars retired so early, and Anthony Davidson’s vehicle with a heavy accident. We only remember too well from last year what a team is going through in moments like that. Afterward, we fought a team-internal battle with cars number one and two - and it was an open and remarkable fight. I congratulate the winners but wouldn’t have minded seeing the other team win either, particularly Dindo Capello, whose birthday is today and who probably contested his last Le Mans race -although that’s what we’ve been thinking for the past five years ... But not only the showing of the two hybrid vehicles was impressive. Our rookies Marco (Bonanomi) and Oliver (Jarvis) in the Audi R18 ultra together with ‘Rocky’ (Mike Rockenfeller) delivered a compelling race that caused them to finish in third place. They had to experience the fact that Le Mans has its own laws but they commandingly mastered this challenge. Our number ‘3’ had two accidents that were almost identical and unfortunately frustrated their race for the podium even though they were running fast. All in all, we’re very happy. All four car crews did an outstanding job. For Audi, having achieved the debut win of a hybrid car has marked another milestone at Le Mans after the initial triumphs with a TFSI and a TDI. We’re proud to have had the opportunity of being part of this."

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): "This was an incredible race. There were so many highs and low - especially for me. I had a great team. The mechanics gave everything after the accident to repair the car as quickly as possible. As always, my driver colleagues did a fantastic job too. For Audi, this is a great day. Clinching not just victory but a one-two result with the new technology of the e-tron quattro is a brilliant feat."

André Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): "The new Audi R18 e-tron quattro is very strong and gave us a lot of confidence. It’s brilliant to have won yet again! That’s an incredibly nice feeling. It was a really strenuous race. A year ago, we were battling against Peugeot and this year against Toyota at the beginning of the race. Unfortunately, our rival retired. But we contested a very fierce race against car number ‘2’ in our team as well. Audi Sport allowed all of us to give everything. It was real racing, and in your own team that’s particularly interesting. Last year, we were running against Peugeot by ourselves after two major accidents. This year, the trust among the entire squad has grown even further. Competing with Audi continues to be very special."

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): "It was a very tough race because traffic on track was particularly heavy this year. You had to be extremely careful not to leave the racing line while lapping as the track was extremely slippery there. There were a number of critical maneuvers. In the morning hours, we had a thrilling and fair duel with our ‘sister car.’ The duel between the two Audi R18 e-tron quattro impressively proved the potential of the hybrid car. I’m happy to be on the top spot of the podium again."

Dindo Capello (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): "Up until the accident it was a great race. When it happened we were in contention for victory. As we could see last year, you’ve got to take risks if you want to win. Without those risks, Audi wouldn’t have won at that time. That’s why we took risks this year too. The result is a bit disappointing for the whole team and especially for Allan (McNish). As a racer, I know how he’s feeling at the moment. Tom (Kristensen) and I know that something like that can happen to any driver anytime, especially when you’re battling for victory. Here at Le Mans, you can’t afford to give away even a tenth of a second anymore. Sometimes it works out and at others it doesn’t. For us, it didn’t work out this time. But next time we’ll have better luck again."

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): "The race gave me a lot of pleasure because it offered everything. I particularly enjoyed the three stints at night. I was supposed to drive as fast as possible and complete twelve laps with each fuel tank filling. I managed this every time. Especially in the morning when we’d made up a lot of time and even taken the lead we were very confident. I’m sad that I wasn’t able to battle with André (Lotterer) for victory anymore on the final laps. But I’m even sadder about the fact that Dindo (Capello) didn’t win on his last run at Le Mans. He would have deserved it. We gave everything for that. ‘Well done’ to car number ‘1.’ They did a great job and deserve this success as well. Audi’s performance and reliability are impressive when you look at the challenges to be mastered in the race. At Le Mans, you’ve got to expect anything at any time."

Allan McNish (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): "I’m devastated. I’m sorry for our team: Dindo, Tom, the engineers and the mechanics. They did a perfect job throughout the race. Despite a few problems we were in contention for victory up to my accident. I caught a slower GT vehicle in the Porsche corners and expected the driver to stay on the right-hand side. But he didn’t. I haven’t got a clue why. I spun and crashed into the guard rail with the right front. That damaged the front bodywork and the suspension - the necessary repair cost us two laps. That was a very, very big disappointment."

Marco Bonanomi (Audi R18 ultra #4): "It’s simply great to have finished on the podium right on my first Le Mans run. The race wasn’t easy for us because we had a puncture early on and transmission problems later. But we were very quick and made no mistakes. I’m very happy for Audi, my team colleagues and myself. A perfect result."

Oliver Jarvis (Audi R18 ultra #4): "Incredible. A race with a lot of ups downs. There were phases when I’d have never believed that we’d be able to make it on podium. We were running very fast for a few hours and then our car suddenly stopped on track. That’s when I thought ‘it’s all over now.’ But the team not only worked hard in that case and we were able to continue. I want to thank the guys; they did an outstanding job. We owe the podium to them. This has made a dream come true for me."

Mike Rockenfeller (Audi R18 ultra #4): "To be honest, I’m pretty happy that we made it onto the podium at Le Mans. That was our minimum goal. We weren’t quick enough during major parts of the race to be in contention for the very top spots. Still, I want to thank the team and my two fellow contenders. We made the best of the situation and made no mistakes ‘Well done’ to the other three Audi teams who had an incredible speed. I think we’ve experienced a great day for Audi that we can celebrate today."

Romain Dumas (Audi R18 ultra #3): "Actually, we had a good race in our Audi R18 ultra. Unfortunately, we were slowed by two accidents one of which I admit I was at fault in. This incident alone cost us so many laps that the leap onto the podium was no longer possible. Still, nobody in the team needs to feel bad about that. On the whole, all of us did a good job. That particularly goes for our mechanics, who had to repair the car twice."

Loïc Duval (Audi R18 ultra #3): "For us, it was a somewhat frustrating, tough race. We had two accidents and related repair breaks. But like they had throughout the week, our mechanics did a fantastic job. Aside from the incidents our car was running superbly but the situation at the front was very tight, so we weren’t able to close up to the three front runners. But I’m already looking forward to next year and hope to achieve a better finish then."

Marc Gené (Audi R18 ultra #3): "It was a very difficult race for us. We lost ground due to a puncture early on. We kept on battling afterwards but Romain (Dumas) and I both had an accident which cost us time again. But the mechanics did a great job of performing the necessary repairs. The most important thing, though, is that Audi managed a one-two-three win. I’m happy that I drove a large number of laps and learned a lot that I’ll be able to benefit from next year."

Audi Sport. 

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