All Hail The King:Tom Kristensen
EC: You're pretty good aren't you?TK: [Tom just smiles.]
EC: The previous record held by Jacky Ickx once seemed impossible to break. Not only have you broken it but with number eight, you keep adding to the total. Now 10 seems to be within reach.TK: I only think as far as the next corner!
EC: The decade has belonged to Audi with regards to Le Mans but Peugeot truly raised the stakes. It's been a long time since you were a true underdog, did you find additional motivation in this?TK: Oh yes, and Dindo and Allan as well. Also, remember our bad dance with lady luck last time we were out in Le Mans with the four-lap lead and no cigar Peugeot has indeed done a superb job for speed during the winter. We were very impressed, but certainly not depressed.
EC: Can you describe the emotions as a professional driver during that stint in the darkness while raining when you took the lead over the No. 7 Peugeot?TK: Deep concentration with a lot of positivity to do the higher risks (in particular in braking), no mistakes for us drivers, and always fast and efficient stops, and tires from the mechanics, plus a great united team spirit. Raising the game.
EC: Concerning the R10, it was obvious that it didn't have the straight-line speed of the main competition. With the constant pushing of always being on the attack, how was the overall balance and did the R10 become more difficult to drive?TK: No, not at all. The car was actually the best R10 we had at Le Mans, and the balance was constant through the race with good brakes and reasonably safe in the wet.
EC: You were paid a high compliment on live television regarding your skills in the wet by Jacques Villeneuve back in your F3 days. In your opinion, what makes a driver good in the rain?TK: Good stability and control under braking and adjusting the traction control according to the conditions. Le Mans during the night is a pretty scary sight, although JV was just being very kind. We had great races in several monsoon-type storms in Japan back then.
EC: You've witnessed several changes to the circuit since your first go. Do you have any observations?TK: They can easily improve the circuit in consistency and safety even more because it improves slightly every year, but I agree that the speed of the cars is reaching the limits. They have to look at the regulations; I am sure they will.
EC: So what does an eight-time winner of the world's most famous sports car race do in his free time?TK: Every year I have less and less free time, and more and more kids! I try to spend time with my entire family and play with the children. I certainly do a lot of sports to stay tuned, like biking, running, and playing a bit of soccer.
EC: Will you be at Petit Le Mans this year with Dindo and Nishy?TK: Ask Dr. Ullrich from Audi Sport. I would be happy to go out with those two boys anytime, but I guess it's very close to the final two DTM races in Le Mans (Bugatti) and the Hockenheim finale.