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Audi wins 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans in form finish style

Audi has taken a third straight outright win at the famous 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans (or ’24 heures du Mans’ to locals) and did it style, filling all three spots on the podium.

Reigning champion trio Marcel Fässler (Switzerland), André Lotterer (Germany) and Benoît Tréluyer (France) of the Audi Sport Team Joest made it back-to-back wins. But this time they won it with hybrid power, the first in Le Mans history.

The number 2 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro of Allan McNish (Great Britain), Rinaldo Capello (Italy) and Tom Kristensen (Denmark) came home in second. They completed just one lap less than the 378 laps the number 1 car completed.

The Audi Sport North America R18 Ultra with Oliver Jarvis (Great Britain), Marco Bonanomi (Italy) and Mike Rockenfeller came were the first non-hybrid powered car home in third, three laps behind.

The number 3 Audi and Team Joest’s only non-hybrid car finished fifth despite French driver Romain Dumas crashing into the wall at the first chicane just four and a half hours in while trying to pass GTE Am class driver Seth Neiman in the number 79. The team managed to repair the car and in the end they were 12 laps behind.

The number 12 Lola/Toyota B12/60 Coupe was 11 laps behind the lead for fourth, with drivers Nicolas Prost (France), Neel Jani (Czech Republic) and F1 star Nick Heidfeld (Germany).

In the LMP2 class, the number 44 Honda HPD ARX 03b with Vicente Potolicchio (Venezuela), Ryan Dalziel (Great Britain) and Thomas Kimber-Smith (Great Britain) finished first with 354 laps. Just one lap behind was the ORECA 03 – Nissan of Pierre Thiriet (France), Mathias Beche (Czech Republic) and Christophe Tinseau (France).

The LM GTE Pro category was a Ferrari 1-2 with the 458 Italias of Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy), Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) and Toni Vilander (Finland) from the AF Corse team completed 336 laps. The Luxury Racing Ferrari of Frédéric Makowiecki (France), Jaime Melo (Brazil) and Dominik Farnbacher (Germany) was three laps behind. The factory Aston Martin with Stefan Mucke (Germany), Darren Turner (Great Britain) and Adrian Fernandez (Mexico) completed the podium.

In GTE Amateur, the number 50 Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1 of Patrick Bornhauser (France), Julien Canal (France) and Pedro Lamy (Portugal) passed the no.67 Porsche 911 Rsr (997) with French drivers Anthony Pons (France), Raymond Narac and Nicolas Armindo in the final hour to take the win.

The Nissan Delta Wing Prototype NISSAN with Marino Franchitti (Great Britain), Michael Krumm (Germany) Satoshi Motoyama (Japan) was unable to complete the race after Motoyama was crashed into by fellow Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima in the Toyota TS 030 hybrid just hours into the race.

As you can see in the video below, Motoyama did his best to get the radically designed Delta Wing back up and running but to no success.

The biggest crash of the race was of Toyota driver Anthony Davidson and Ferrari 458 driver Piergiuseppe Perrazini. Follow this link for the video of the amazing stack in which Davidson broke his back after flipping the Toyota LMP1.

Josh Barnett specialises in motorsport and road testing. His passion for cars is long and wide, and his experience is just as impressive. Josh's work has appeared in titles such as Street Commodores and Fox Sports.