Season » 2014 » 24h Le Mans (F)


“This was an exceptional race"

Quotes following Audi’s triumph at Le Mans.

Ralf Jüttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “This was an exceptional race. Everybody was leading some of the time, pitted for repairs, some retired – this race really offered a lot. And in the end, the best cars with the best drivers and the strongest teams won. Thank you very much guys! Everybody could see how hard they worked and how fast they prepared a completely new car. What nobody saw was the work they did in the past months, which was a whole lot more. All my thanks go to them.”

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “This was no doubt one of the most thrilling and action-packed races at Le Mans. For us, it was also one of the most difficult ones and that’s why, in my personal ranking of emotions, it takes one of the top spots. The whole week was a period of many highs and lows for us. And during the 24 hours every car was running in front at least once. In the first two thirds of the race, it was our rivals and in the final third we worked our way towards the front. This can only be achieved with a very special team performance. The combination of an efficient concept and a team of strong drivers, who extract the best from it – that was the key to success.”

Chris Reinke (Head of LMP): “The initial concept for the new R18 was created two years ago and for the past nine months we’ve been intensively testing the car. To have reached the aim now, to have overcome all the hurdles and to be on top of the podium is obviously the greatest thing for all of us. Anyone who’s watched the whole race can appreciate the amount of energy that had to be put into this effort. I’m proud of the whole squad.”

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “A brilliant race for us, but also one with many highs and lows for all the crews and manufacturers. The spectators saw a spectacular race in which the tables kept turning and that was unpredictable and thrilling through to the final hours. We were within striking distance for a long time, then led the race, and then lost ground again. In the end, fortune was on our side. Not only because of the perfect result but also because of the premiere according to the new regulations, Le Mans 2014 was a milestone for Audi.”

André Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “This was a fantastic day for us following some very stressful weeks for the whole Audi squad. The race started well and the spectators saw a great battle between all three manufacturers. When an Audi retired, we chased Toyota as a duo. After our rivals had a problem, the way seemed to be clear. Then we had a problem. But our mechanics never lost their motivation and very quickly changed the turbocharger. They know Le Mans and what needs to be done.”

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “I’m overjoyed after this incredible race. There was so much happening and lots of ups and downs. But our team spirit always remained intact. We all felt so sorry about the accident of car number ‘3.’ We subsequently took the lead until we had some problems. When car number ‘1’ was running in front we were sure they’d make it. ‘It’s your turn to win the trophy for Audi,’ we said to them. When they got problems, Tom Kristensen said to us, ’Now it’s your turn.’ There was a nice, positive atmosphere between both driver squads throughout. ‘Thank you’ to the whole team, to our engineer Leena (Gade) and to my fellow drivers.”

Marc Gené (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “When I arrived at Le Mans I had victory in the LMP2 category in the back of my mind. But with all due respect: a podium place in the LMP1 class is obviously a lot more overwhelming. Everything came as such a surprise for me. And of course I also spent some thought on whether my performance was right. But Tom (Kristensen), Lucas (di Grassi) and the whole team gave me great help. Even victory would have been possible for us. But I’m overjoyed with this result as well.”

Lucas di Grassi (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “What a race! I can’t recall when I last experienced such an exciting car race – neither at Le Mans nor anywhere else. Our week with the accident of Loïc (Duval) got us off to a really bad start. The mechanics had to prepare a completely new car so that the qualifying session was just a rollout for us. Then we clearly led the race three hours before the end and the tables suddenly turned again. Even though we’re a bit saddened in the end: this is my second podium in my second Le Mans race, Audi has won and everybody has been rewarded for their hard work.”

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “This race was simply incredible – and that goes for our whole squad. We arrived at Le Mans with a good car. Then we lost a car right at the beginning of the week and Loïc Duval retired. We had to change all our plans. Everybody was telling us that our car would no longer be in contention in the race. The guys prepared everything again from scratch overnight. Then we started the race with Marc Gené as our new team-mate. In the rain, it was a very turbulent beginning. Then we made up ground until an injector had to be changed at night. This was followed by a puncture and subsequently we were leading the race. Our advantage was huge. We just had to reach the finish but then we had a new problem. So we were back in third place but in the end finished in second. We can be proud of this. It was like in a fairy tale and they don’t always have perfect endings. For Audi, on the other hand, the outcome of the race was perfect. This week, we’ve experienced the full range of emotions. Unbelievable!”

Filipe Albuquerque (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #3): “Marco (Bonanomi) drove fantastically. That was a good foretaste of what would have been possible for our car today. I’m sure that we’d have been in contention at the front through to the very end. It’s almost tragic: one minute everything’s okay and in the next it’s all over. When the rain set in somebody hit Marco – he had no chance. This is how tough Le Mans can be.”

Marco Bonanomi (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #3): “I feel incredibly sorry, especially for my two team-mates and the whole squad. Everybody gave everything for success for a whole year during the preparation – and now it was over for us so early. We had the potential to clinch a really good result. I had no chance in the accident. I drove slowly in the heavy rain in order to take no risk on slicks. The situation with the Toyota turned out okay but then the Ferrari drove into my car – that meant the end of my race and unfortunately also for our Audi.”

Oliver Jarvis (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #3): “I’m incredibly disappointed. Not just for me but, most of all, for the whole squad. Many people only see these days here at Le Mans – but preparations that last nearly a whole year are behind this event. I’m sure that today we’d have had a chance for victory too – that makes the retirement through no fault of our own an especially bitter pill following such a strong performance by Marco (Bonanomi).”