June 16, 2014
Article by Jacob Black, photo of 2013 Le Mans courtesy Lesley Wimbush
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of motorsport’s crowning glories. This year the leading LM P1 teams of Audi and Toyota were joined by Porsche – and the returning German team very nearly pulled off an upset.
Motorsport is cruel though, and mechanical gremlins struck the Porsche, which led for a significant period, with less than two hours to go, putting it out of contention for the win. The Audi of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer claimed victory ahead of teammates Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gene and Tom Kristensen with the sole remaining Toyota of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre.
Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Oliver Turvey took LM P2 honours in a Nissan-powered Zytek and Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander claimed the GTE Pro class for AF Corse Ferrari.
GTE Am was taken out fittingly by the 95 Aston Martin driven by Danes David Heinemeier Hansson, Kristian Poulsen, Nicki Thiim. That result was particularly emotional given that fellow Dane Allan Simonsen lost his life at Le Mans just one year earlier in an Aston Martin with the same number and livery.
The build-up to Le Mans was chaotic, with a series of heavy crashes that resulted in three drivers being declared unfit to race by doctors. That chaos was tempered somewhat during the race, and after an early downpour which caught out several drivers, the event settled into a thankfully peaceful rhythm.
Another epic MotoGP battle saw the Repsol factory Hondas of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in an elbow-to-elbow battle for the win in Catalunya. They swapped the lead four times on the final lap before Pedrosa hit the rear of Marquez’s tire and had to run wide. Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi had been leading until being passed by the duo, but hung in behind. The veteran pounced on Pedrosa’s error to steal second place.
Marquez’s win is his seventh straight this season, and eighth straight in the top class. It comes on a weekend where his brother claimed victory in Moto3 – the first time siblings have claimed grand prix victories on the same day.
The most important motorsport news of the week, though, is that Michael Schumacher is out of his coma and has been moved out of ICU. There is no further word on his condition, and it’s believed the Formula 1 legend still has a long fight ahead. For getting to this point – well against the odds – Schumacher gets this week’s Green Flag.