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Published on April 13th, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Audi R15 TDI Wins In Le Mans

Audi Diesel Technology Wins In Le Mans as Allan McNish scored a magnificent début victory for Audi with its latest diesel-engined sportscar in the opening round of the Le Mans Series at Paul Ricard in France on Sunday the 11th of April. McNish started his new Audi R15 TDI “Plus” from the front row of the 40-car grid after co-driver Dindo Capello had set the second fastest qualifying time the previous day but stormed in to the lead on the third lap. By mid-distance in the eight-hour race the 40-year-old Scotsman, back behind the wheel after a solid stint by Capello, had extended the lead to a two-lap advantage over the second-placed Aston Martin around the fast, sweeping 3.6-mile track.

Having taken the lead after four minutes, the McNish/Capello “factory” Audi was never headed again at the former French Grand Prix circuit– their 5.5-litre twin-turbo diesel engined Audi eventually finishing five-laps, 18-miles ahead of the second-placed AstonMartin having completed 957-miles at an average speed of 119.49mph in a completely trouble-free run. Capello set the race’s fastest lap (1m 42.541s, 126.33mph) with 90mins remaining. The pole-position starting factory-assisted Oreca Peugeot lost 18mins in the pits with a problem in the opening hour and finished fourth – eight-laps behind the victorious Audi. Just 37 days after the “roll-out” of the R15 “Plus”, the Paul Ricard race at Le Castellet was a “test” under race conditions marking the next phase of its development programme. After aerodynamic tests at Homestead (Florida), a multi-day endurance test at Sebring (Florida) and tyre tests at Monza (Italy), Audi Sport Team Joest used the Ricard LMS race to begin the detailed race-setup work on the updated LMP1 sports-prototype.

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “It is impressive that Audi Sport has developed a prototype for a fourth consecutive time which was able to win its début race: after the R8, the R10 and the R15 now the R15 plus. Of course we are very happy that the R15 plus has won the Le Castellet 8 Hours in its test entry.
Tom Kristensen partners McNish and Capello at Le Mans. The Dane tore the heel tendon in his left leg in January and decided to concentrate on his forthcoming testing commitments rather than contest the Ricard race.

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