Kristensen shocked by McNish's decision to retire from racing
|By Gary Watkins||Thursday, December 19th 2013, 09:26 GMT|
Nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen has admitted to shock when he learnt that long-time Audi team-mate Allan McNish was hanging up his helmet.
Kristensen, who was one of the first people to know of the decision that McNish set in stone last Thursday, said: "We are close to each other, but I didn't expect him to pull the trigger in the way he has done.
"I thought he might scale it down first, so I was definitely shocked when he gave me the call.
"I was very emotional, because when you share a car you also share a lot of emotions."
The Dane, who is two years McNish's senior, also admitted to disappointment after "such a good year in 2013" during which he, McNish and Loic Duval won the World Endurance Championship and Le Mans.
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Kristensen paid tribute to McNish and said he was proud to have driven with him for so long.
"We should celebrate a long and great career for the little Scottish terrier, who always gave total commitment whenever he got in the car.
"He is a class act, a team player and now a world champion."
Kristensen revealed that the idea of he and McNish driving together was first raised by their respective fathers, Carl-Erik and Bert.
The suggestion followed their thrilling battle in the closing stages of the 2005 Sebring 12 Hours in a pair of Champion Racing Audi R8s.
"Our dads said would it be good if you drove the same car and [Audi Sport boss] Wolfgang Ullrich made it happen.
"We'd both driven with Dindo [Rinaldo Capello] before, so it made for a perfect fit just as Audi came back with the turbodiesel and a factory team for 2006."