After 24 hours of fascinating racing at Le Mans, just 4 minutes separated the Audi team from the Peugeot team, with the Audi driven expertly by Allan McNish, Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen finishing ahead of the Peugeot driven Jacques Villeneuve, Marc Gene & Nicolas Minassian.
So Audi finished the 76th Le Mans 24 hours on top of the podium for the 5th consecutive time, and Danish driver Tom Kristensen finished ahead of the rest of the field for a record eighth victory.
The Peugeot cars got off to a flying start leading for much of the first half of the race, with their cars visibly more powerful than the Audis. However with Peugeots averaging a pit-stop every 11 laps, compared to Audi’s 12 laps, there was never very much distance between the teams.
As the rain began to fall in the 14th hour of the race, so the Audi cars came in to their own overtaking the Peugeots in the pits on lap 234 out of 381.By the morning, Audi’s lead was up to 3 minutes and despite a late attack by the Peugeot with Minassian at the wheel, the experience of Tom Kristensen and Audi kept ahead to reach the chequered flag first. Peugeot finished on the same lap just 4 minutes 31 seconds behind.
With diesel cars claiming the top 6 places, the unofficial award for top petrol engine car went to Pescarolo Sport. The LMP2 class was won by the Porsche Spyders in first and second place. Aston Martin successfully defended their LMGT1 title and the Ferraris dominated the LMGT2 class finishing in all the top 4 places.