In the Books: 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans (Spoilers)
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This year's running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was an absolute classic, with intense battles fought between Audi and Peugeot and Aston Martin and Corvette. In the end, Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish, and Dindo Capello took the overall win in the #2 Audi R10. For Tom K., already the winningest driver in the history of the race, this is his 8th Le Mans win. Incredible. The Peugeots were very fast, but early in the morning, Audi turned the tables and held off the Peugeot 908 coupes in some pretty ugly weather conditions. As night turned back into day, TV viewers saw Kristensen driving like a man possessed. The #7 Peugeot driven by Marc Gene, Nicolas Minassian, and Jacques Villeneuve took second overall, and the #9 Peugeot of Franck Montagny, Ricardo Zonta, and Christian Klien took the final podium spot.
In GT1, the competition was equally fierce, with both the #009 Gulf Aston Martin DBR9 and the #63 Corvette C6.R occupying the leader's spot at times. In the end, Aston defended its title, with David Brabham, Darren Turner and Antonio Garcia in #009 beating the #63 Vette piloted by Johnny O'Connell, Jan Magnussen, and Ron Fellows, which finished on the same lap. What a great rivalry this has become. If you like racing, it is almost unfair that these two juggernauts have only met head-to-head twice in the last two years -- at Le Mans. At least they make it worth the wait. Third place in GT1 went to the other C6.R, #64, driven by Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin, and Max Papis.
The LMP2 class featured the Le Mans debut of the Porsche RS Spyder. Not a bad one, considering it took the top two podium positions. The purple-and-white #34 car of Van Merksteijn Motorsport, driven by Peter Van Merksteijn, Jos Verstappen, and Jeroen Bleekemolen and took the win. The #31 Team Essex Porsche, piloted by John Nielsen, Casper Elgaard, and Sascha Maassen took the number-two spot, and the #35 Pescarolo-Judd of Saulnier Racing took third in the P2 class. Pierre Rauges, Matthieu Lahaye, and Cong Fu Cheng sprayed the bubbly from that final podium spot.
Last, but not least: GT2. The first thing you'll notice is that a Porsche 911 did not make the podium. This year, both the GT2 field and the winners' platform were dominated by Ferrari F430 GTs, with Houston, TX-based Risi Competizione claiming victory behind the efforts of Mika Salo, Jaime Melo, and Gianmaria Bruni. Second place went to BMS Scuderia Italia and its drivers, Matteo Malucelli, Paolo Ruberti, and Fabio Babini. Third place was taken by Farnbacher Racing's Pierre Kaffer, Lars Erik Nielsen, and Pierre Ehret.
You can see the full race results here. In a nutshell, the racing was excellent, rivalries deepened, and Audi's unbelievable run at Le Mans continued. We're already looking forward to next year.
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