Audi R10 Diesel wins Le Mans 24 hours

Pirro, Biela and Werner take the chequered flag first

Audi took a historic first diesel win in the Le Mans 24 Hours, on the R10 TDI’s debut in the Sarthe classic.

Victory went to the car driven by Emanuele Pirro, Frank Biela and Marco Werner, while its sister car, driven by six-time winner Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello was third, three laps behind, after the car ran into a series of problems, including losing around 25 minutes when fuel injectors had to be changed in the fourth hour.

The German firm has now won all but one edition of France’s great race since 1999 – the exception being 2003, when the Bentley EXP Speed 8, which relied heavily on Audi technology, triumphed.

Audi is expected to confirm in October (when its motorsport budget is due to be signed off) that it will return to try to win the race again with its 5.5-litre 90 degree, DOHC V12 -powered prototype. Then, though, it will face serious opposition from Peugeot’s new diesel project (see right).

Peugeot diesel confirmed

Peugeot will contest the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours with a new car, named 908, powered by a 5.5-litre 100 degree V12 diesel engine. Testing is to start in December, with Eric Hélary, a Le Mans winner with Peugeot in the 905 in 1993, at the wheel.