Scot Allan McNish drove like a man possessed as he and team-mate Dindo Capello recovered from 17th to finish fifth in the opening round of the Le Mans Series in Barcelona.
The 38-year-old from Dumfries, who started yesterday’s (Sun) 1000km race from third on the grid, had moved his diesel-powered Audi R10TDI into the lead after an hour.
But within minutes of the first round of pitstops being completed, the Scot’s car suffered a punctured left rear tyre. Worse though was to follow 40 minutes later when the car’s alternator belt broke. The lengthy repairs cost the duo seven laps.
Italian Capello rejoined in 17th before handing the car back to McNish two hours later having moved through to ninth. The Scot, the current president of the Scottish Motor Racing Club, then rattled off a series of fast laps to bring the car home fifth, five laps behind the winners.
“It’s been a tough day,” McNish admitted afterwards. “We had a few reliability problems, which isn’t normal for Audi. But though the cars wasn’t quite as fast as we had wanted, we battled right to the end and recovered a good result from a position where it could have been a lot worse.”
The race was won by Audi’s fiercest rivals, the Peugeot 908 HDi of Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene. Audi’s ‘junior’ car, driven by Mike Rockenfeller and Alex Premat, kept out of trouble to finish second, less than two laps behind the Peugeot.