• Jun 12, 2009
It's mid-June and that means it's time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans again. If the past decade is anything to go by, the number one contenders will again be the factory Audis, which have won eight of the last nine races (all nine if you count the 2003 as the Audi it truly was). For the past two years, the big battle for overall glory has been between the diesel-powered Audi R10 and Peugeot 908, and this year looks to be no different aside from Audi having an all new car, the R15, still with TDI power.

While the Peugeots have shown superior speed the last two years, the Audis have had better reliability and pit work. This year, the R15s appear to have made up the speed deficit, and the Germans look set for victory again if the crew can keep them running. Unfortunately for Audi, the race won't start with one of its cars in the lead, as Stephane Sarrazin has once again captured the poll in his Peugeot 908 for a record third straight year. Alan McNish managed to qualify one of Audi's three R15s right behind Sarrazin, but the other two cars managed to qualify only sixth and seventh on the starting grid. Three other Peugeot 908s will start from third, fourth and fifth, respectively, which means diesel power penetrates all the way back to the fourth row on this year's starting grid.

For those interested in following Audi's progress this weekend, the automaker is following up up its Sebring Facebook coverage with even more social media stuff this weekend. You can find photos, videos and news at AudiR15TDI.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Our own Damon Lavrinc will also be reporting live from Le Mans this year, so keep an eye on Autoblog and make sure to follow our Twitter feed all weekend long.

[Sources: Yahoo Eurosport, Audi, AutoCar | Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      Roland
      • 5 Years Ago
      Power , performance, endurance all wraped up in these top of the line race cars.
      These two German and French car builders have again put together a race/endurance package that once again proves diesel power can be used as the top choice when it come to regular autos.
      Umm diesel power--
      Even with bankrupt companies here in the States, "rebuilding towards economy and style" we still do not have or will have light diesel power for now.
      Maybe GM and Fiat can get a clue what the world is coming to by just looking at the first seven cars lined up for this great race.

        • 5 Years Ago
        @Roland
        or vw's TDI sales the last couple of generations :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Pole Position in this race is pointless. The biggest issue is that going all out for qualifying can put some wear on the tires, which is detrimental for the actual race since those same tires have to be used again once the actual race starts. Better to save some tread?

      Le Mans Radio:
      http://rlm08.0157.org/#
        • 5 Years Ago
        Kitko: Eh, it rains, A LOT in Le Mans. Blaming it on the rain would be a sad excuse.

        There were more reasons why Audi had the edge. Audi had better reliability. The drivers quadruple-stinted. The drivers like McNish were really consistent. Audi's engineering team knew how to pace their cars, and the right times to pit them in. Peugeot got outplayed, quite simple as that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly. Who had pole the last two years? Who won?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The only reason Audi won last year was" their team. No one brings a better combination of drivers, engineers, and vehicles to LeMans. Rain is pointless, that’s tire choice, if Peugeot still can’t get that right after losing the year prior for damn near the same reason, they’re plain incompetent.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Audi went through the same rain as Peugeot. I wonder what excuses Peugeot will have this year.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The only reason Audi won last year was heavy rain. Jacques Villeneuve was driving his ass off posting the fastest times of all Peugeots in the rain but Audis proved to be much faster in those conditions.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GO AUDI
      • 5 Years Ago
      Both sides are pulling out all the stops in this race. It will be a major blow to Peugeot to lose, yet again. If 12 hours Sebring is any indicator of Audi's potential at Le Mans you can expect a very long and hard fight. Peugeot's outright speed was erased and with aggressive drivers like Alan McNish and the all conquering Tom Kristensen its fair to say the scaled are tipped in Audi's favor. But 24 hours of all out racing is brutal and anything, I mean anything can go wrong for either side! As Dindo Capello said, "Its easy for a lion to jump thru one ring, maybe even two, but four is a very different matter!" -quattrovideos.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      You should be able to find feeds on justin.tv . I found the qualis there yesterday.

      If Peugeot can't win this year, I think it may be the end of them at Le Mans, for now. 3 years for a top-flight team should be more than enough. Though Audi have done everything right and they have deservedly won, nothing was gifted to win.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is the race I most look forward to each year. I expect another tough Audi/Peugeot fight to the finish.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Feeling like an underdog win would be nice. Do not know why everyone is so enamored or suprised about the diesel dominance. The rules favor it. Also, the LMP2 cars have been further hamstrung. They could have been competitive as evidenced by the beat down the RS Spyders gave Audi a few years ago in ALMS. I would like to see how fast a gasoline engine would be given turbos and the same displacement as the rules currently permit a diesel. I suspect diesel would lose. I wonder what the next "thing" will be after diesel?
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