Audi’s trio of silver and white R18 TDI e-tron quattro steamrollers crossed the line in formation to take the rolling start of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. After a brief flurry by the Toyota team, with a glorious couple of laps that put the TS030s right in amongst the R18s, the race was brought under safety car conditions after just nine minutes following a huge smash for the #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage, driven by Danish star Allan Simonsen. The SC boards stayed out for almost an hour before racing recommenced and Audi regained full control of the strung-out field.
But the terrible news came several hours later, just after I’d hiked back to the press centre from the other end of the track: that Allan had succumbed to the injures he’d sustained in the impact. Aston Martin will continue, which was the express wish of his family.
All of us at Speedhunters extend our deepest condolences to Allan’s family, and our best wishes are with them and the team at this difficult time.
Postions after four hours:
1: LMP1 #1 Audi R18 TDI e-tron quattro (Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer) 58 laps
2: LMP1 #2 Audi R18 TDI e-tron quattro (McNish/Kristensen/Duval) +44s
3: LMP1 #3 Audi R18 TDI e-tron quattro (Digrassi/Gene/Jarvis) +1m28s
4: LMP1 #8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid (Davidson/Sarrazin/Buemi) +1m46s
5: LMP1 #7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid (Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima) +2m05s
9: LMP2 #26 G-Drive Oreca-03 Nissan (Rusinov/Martin/Conway) +4 laps
20: GTE-Pro #99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage (Bell/Makowiecki/Senna) +7 laps
30: GTE-Am #61 AF Corse (Gerber/Griffin/Cioci) +9 laps