In an emotional press release this week, Tom Kristensen of Audi Team Joest, dedicated his outright Le Mans victory, his ninth career win the in the 24 hour race so far, to fellow Dane Allan Simonsen. Tragically, Simonsen lost his life in the early stages of this year’s most prestigious sportscar race, when his Aston Martin Vantage collided with a barrier at Tetre Rouge.
“Unfortunately, we lost someone yesterday, with Allan Simonsen, who had the same dream.” Kristensen wrote this week. “He was a very modest and nice person. That’s why I’m experiencing highs and lows this time.”
Kristensen, driver of the No.2 Audi e-Tron Quattro, had experienced personal tragedy himself ahead of this years Le Mans 24 Hours, but despite this, the former British Touring Car racer wanted to recognise his countryman. “With respect to my ninth victory: I’m driving with determination and the ambition my father inspired in me.” He added. “He died in March. Before his death, he told me that I’d win Le Mans this year with my team-mates. I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to celebrate another victory with Loic and Allan (McNish) that I can dedicate to my father. Because this Le Mans success I’m dedicating to Allan Simonsen.”
It was Audi Team Joest’s twelfth win at the Sarthe based-circuit, which bolstered their position as the most successful sportscar team of the modern era. However, head of Audi Motorsport, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, echoed Kristensen’s sentiments at the end of the race. “That was the most difficult race I’ve experienced in my 15 Le Mans years.” He offered. “One reason, no doubt, was having to see a young race driver from Denmark lose his life this weekend. We’re feeling with his family.”