LE MANS, France Audi survived a collision late in the 24 Hours of Le Mans to win the endurance race for the fifth straight year and give Tom Kristensen a record eighth victory.
Kristensen, a Dane, teamed with Rinaldo Capello of Italy and Allan McNish of Britain in the Audi No. 2 that made the best of wet racing Sunday to beat the faster Peugeot cars.
"It was a perfect race," Kristensen told France 2 television. "The Audi had no problem at all. It's really unbelievable."
Audi's victory thwarted Jacques Villeneuve's bid to win the Triple Crown of auto racing.
The diesel-powered Audi No. 2 survived a scare when it collided with the Zytek 07S No. 32 in the 22nd hour. The Audi carried on without apparent damage while the Zytek car went into the pits.
The Audi No. 2 completed 381 laps in 24 hours, with a lead of 4 minutes, 31.094 seconds over Peugeot No. 7, driven by Villeneuve, Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian.
Villeneuve won the Indianapolis 500 in 1995 and the Formula One world championship in 1997, but could only hold the lead for a few laps this weekend to finish second.
"The Audi team has been very impressive and intimidating," Villeneuve told the event's official Web site. "The Audi drivers were very strong."
Peugeot was leading when rain started in the 14th hour, offering an opportunity for Audi cars to make up for their relative lack of speed in dry conditions.
"I really have to congratulate the team on the choice of tires, which allowed us to maintain the high pressure we exercised on the Peugeots," Kristensen said. "It paid off to give everything during the night to take the lead."
Kristensen overtook Villeneuve in the fifteenth hour on lap 234 as the Peugeot No. 7 was refueling in the pits.
"Our car is difficult," Villeneuve said. "You get the power down coming out of corners and it snaps around, which makes it harder to overtake the slower cars."
Franck Montagny, Ricardo Zonta and Christian Klien finished third in the Peugeot No. 9, two laps off the pace.
The Audi No. 3, driven by Lucas Luhr, Alexandre Premat and Mike Rockenfeller, came in fourth, seven laps behind Kristensen.
Defending champion Frank Biela's Audi No. 1 was sixth, one lap behind pole-sitter Stephane Sarrazin's Peugeot No. 8 that clocked the fastest lap in 3 minutes, 19.394 seconds on the 8.5-mile circuit.
Peugeot initially got off to a flying start with its three cars in the lead during the first two hours.
But two of its cars faced electrical problems in the third hour: the Peugeot No. 8 had to stop for 20 minutes in the pits because of a gearbox problem while the Peugeot No. 9's headlights failed to work.
Capello took the lead at the start of the fourth hour while Minassian's Peugeot No. 7 was refueling.
But Minassian overtook the Audi No. 2 on the inside in the fifth hour on lap 71 to recapture the top spot.
The safety car came out shortly after midnight for 34 minutes to recover a Courage-Oreca Judd that crashed out.