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Tuesday June 25, 2013

Kristensen dedicates Le Mans win to Simonsen

LE MANS (France): Audi recorded their 12th win in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race on Sunday but it was a victory overshadowed by the death of Danish driver Allan Simonsen.

Simonsen’s compatriot Tom Kristensen, 45, was part of the winning trio of drivers extending his all-time record of nine victories in the historic race but first since 2008.

Kristensen, whose first win came in 1997, touchingly dedicated his victory to Simonsen instead of his father, who died earlier this year.

“We lost someone yesterday who had the same dream as I did, a good bloke,” said Kristensen.

“Thus my feelings at winning are different this year. I am also thinking of my father who died in March. I would like to win again so that I can dedicate it to him because this victory is for Allan.”

Kristensen’s team-mates were Scotsman Allan McNish, tasting victory for the third time, and Frenchman Loic Duval, who was winning for the first time.

Simonsen, 34, died as a result of injuries he suffered after a horror high-speed crash at the wheel of an Aston Martin on Saturday.

A brief tribute was paid to Simonsen before the podium ceremony on Sunday by six-time winner Jacky Ickx and Pierre Fillon the president of the organising committee.

The Audi - which gave the manufacturer their fourth successive win and 11th in the last 13 editions - came home a lap clear of the Toyota, whose trio of drivers were Frenchman Stephane Sarrazin and former Formula One duo England’s Anthony Davidson and Swiss Sebastien Buemi.

Davidson, who competed for the now defunct Minardi team in Formula One driving in 24 Grand Prix, said that Simonsen’s crash had brought back terrible memories. — AFP

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