Dumfries racer Allan McNish steered his diesel-engined Audi home to fourth place in the penultimate round of the Le Mans Series at the Nürburgring.
“We had already had problems with our car in qualifying the previous day,” the 38-year-old Scot explained today. “Despite the best efforts overnight of our engineers and team, these gremlins unfortunately stayed with us for the race. The car was inconsistent.”
McNish’s co-driver Dindo Capello started the 1000km race from fifth place on the 46-car grid and handed over to McNish with almost two hours run in fourth. The Scot overtook the Alexandre Prémat (F)/Mike Rockenfeller (D) “sister” Audi Sport Team Joest R10 TDI for third place nearing mid-distance.
Capello slipped behind the Prémat/Rockenfeller Audi soon after taking over from McNish but was back in third with 50-laps remaining when Prémat pitted with a left rear puncture caused by debris.
McNish climbed back in to the Audi on four hours with 41-laps to run and immediately set the car’s fastest lap (1:42.242) around the 3.19-mile German track. Britain’s double Le Mans 24 Hour race winner took back third with 20-laps to run when Prémat pitted to Rockenfeller.
He then made his final pit-stop for fuel with just 11 laps remaining and retained position but was forced back to the pits with a suspected right rear tyre puncture caused by debris with just three laps remaining, Allan taking. As a result, McNish took the chequered flag in fourth behind the Prémat/Rockenfeller Audi.
“It was a really frustrating weekend for us,” McNish added. “We must find out what was wrong and solve the problem before my home Silverstone race.”
The fifth and final round of the LMS is the 1000km at Silverstone next month, September 14, a race that marks the British race début of Audi’s pioneering Audi R10 TDI.