Audi dominates Le Mans, Chandhok sixth
Reigning champions Audi stamped their authority on the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race on Sunday while Toyota's challenge ended with British driver Anthony Davidson lying in hospital with a broken back.india Updated: Jun 17, 2012 23:12 IST
Reigning champions Audi stamped their authority on the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race on Sunday while Toyota's challenge ended with British driver Anthony Davidson lying in hospital with a broken back.
The German manufacturer's quest to win a first Le Mans title with an R18 diesel hybrid was well on track at the 18-hour mark with the cars running in first and second place ahead of two non-hybrids.
Italian Rinaldo Capello in the number two Audi held the overall lead from Switzerland's Marcel Faessler, who lost position in the number one Audi when he returned to the pits for repairs on the rear bodywork.
Faessler had spun, clipping the barriers at the Porsche curves, at the 13-hour mark before glancing off the tyre wall again as the sun rose over the Sarthe circuit. The Audis may not be infallible but the German machines certainly looked untouchable after racing at the front through the night and with just over seven hours to go.
Marco Bonanomi was running third in the non-hybrid number four Audi with stable-mate Romain Dumas behind him in the number three car after co-driver Loic Duval saw off former Formula One driver Nick Heidfeld's Lola.
Karun Chandhok took sixth place overall along with his JRM Racing teammates David Brabham and Peter Dumbrek to become the first Indian racing driver to finish the historic 24 hour race. The JRM Racing team finished second amongst the privateer teams in the premier Le Mans Prototype 1 class as Audi took four out of the top five places.
The team were in with a chance to take fifth before a late night puncture on Saturday.
Toyota had snatched the lead from Audi after five hours of intense racing but their excitement turned to horror when Davidson, racing in another hybrid Toyota, suffered a spectacular crash.
The Briton will stay in hospital until Monday after fracturing two vertebrae in the incident.
"Well that was a big one! Lying in a French hospital with a broken back wasn't what I had in mind at this stage in the race," the 33-year-old, whose injuries are expected to take three months to heal, said on Twitter.