Ninth Le Mans victory for Tom Kristensen
23 June 2013 – Tom Kristensen has extended his record run of Le Mans race victories by notching up a ninth win at the French venue on Sunday. While trouble hit the other Audis, the Dane plus team-mates Allan McNish and Loïc Duval took control from the seventh hour. Anthony Davidson's Toyota and a second Audi completed the podium.
Duval had placed the #2 Audi on pole position, but it was Andre Lotterer in the #1 car who grabbed the early ahead of fast-starting Toyota driver Nicolas Lapierre. The two enjoyed a clean battle until the first Safety Car period, initiated following Allan Simonsen's heavy crash at Tertre Rouge. The Dane later succumbed to his injuries, with Kristensen paying tribute to his countryman after picking up the winners' trophy.
"If you want it to be personal, we lost somebody who shared the same dream; an absolutely humble and nice guy," Kristensen explained. "It's a mixed feeling. My father died in March and he said I would win Le Mans this year. I hope I can win another one and dedicate it to my dad because this year is for Allan Simonsen."
After a lengthy phase behind the Safety Car, Audi unleashed its true pace, although Toyota applied pressure with longer stints. But at the chequered flag, Kristensen, McNish and Duval took victory, the 12th for Audi at Le Mans. Sébastien Buemi, Davidson and Stephane Sarrazin were one lap down in second, with the Audi of Marc Gené, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis bouncing back from a puncture to finish third.
The #7 Toyota of Lapierre, Kazuki Nakajima and Alex Wurz had look set to claim the final place on the rostrum, but as rain fell in the closing stages Lapierre endured a costly accident. After long repairs, they finished fourth, just in front of Audi drivers Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer who endured engine issues.
In the LMP2 class, Oak Racing achieved a 1-2 finish. Former Formula Renault 3.5 Champion Bertrand Baguette took victory with Marin Plowman and Ricardo Gonzalez, while Olivier Pla, Alex Brundle and David Hansson finished in second position.
After the death of Simonsen, all eyes were on the remaining Aston Martin entries in the GTE Pro class, but Frederic Makowiecki, who shared the #99 car with Rob Bell and Bruno Senna, crashed out of the lead, paving the way for Porsche drivers Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Romain Dumas to take victory. Peter Dumbreck, Stefan Mücke and Darren Turner ensured that one Aston Martin machine made the podium.
Porsche IMSA Performance Matmut also took victory in the LM GTE Pro Am class, thanks to Jean-Karl Vernay, Raymond Narac and Christope Bourret's efforts.