A final hour that promised much delivered little of the drama it could have as Dane Tom Kristensen completed the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans to claim victory for the #2 Audi of he, Allan McNish and Loic Duval.
The safety car peeled in for the final time to leave just half an hour of the race remaining on a treacherous track with more rain promised in the closing minutes, creating additional tension for the final laps of the race.
A dark cloud materialised, a physical embodiment of the pall cast over the even by the events early in the race, but thankfully little of the rain fell, leaving the race to finish in order. Tom Kristensen led Sebastien Buemi in the second placed #8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid with the remaining LMGTE Am Aston Martin Racing Vantage – the sister car to that raced by Allan Simonsen – the third car across the line.
Oliver Jarvis and the rest of the #3 Audi team completed the overall podium.
Despite the need for a late splash and dash – and a spin in the downpour of the penultimate hour – the #35 OAK Racing team of Bertrand Baguette, Martin Plowman and Ricardo Gonzalez won LMP2 ahead of their teammates in the #24 car. G-Drive Racing’s #26 team completed the class podium.
Aston Martin Racing’s final gamble to go to slick tyres did not pay off. Before the safety car came in they needed to pit to swap back to slick tyres. The extra stop dropped them to third in class, behind a 1-2 finish for the Porsche AG Team Manthey team, the winning car piloted by Romain Dumas, Richard Lietz and Marc Lieb.
There was more Porsche success in LMGTE Am. Rouen based IMSA Performance Matmut won the class by a lap over the #55 AF Corse Ferrari, with the team’s #61 entry third in class.
2013 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 24 hours
1 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Kristensen/Duval/McNish
2 – #8 Toyota Racing – Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin
3 – #3 Audi Sport Team Joest – di Grassi/Gene/Jarvis
1 – #35 OAK Racing – Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman
2 – #24 OAK Racing – Brundle/Heinemeier Hansson/Pla
3 – #26 G-Drive Racing – Conway/Martin/Rusinov
1 – #92 Porsche AG Team Manthey – Lieb/Lietz/Dumas
2 – #91 Porsche AG Team Manthey – Bergmeister/Bernhard/Pilet
3 – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Dumbreck/Mucke/Turner
1 – #76 IMSA Performance Matmut – Narac/Bourret/Vernay
2 – #55 AF Corse – Perazzini/Case/O’Young
3 – #61 AF Corse – Gerber/Griffin/Cioci