Allan McNish's Le Mans diary

Audi cruised to a dominant Le Mans 24 Hour victory and also claimed second and third positions in an incredible display of speed and reliability. But unfortunately for me, I could only manage second

Allan McNish's Le Mans diary

As you know I'm sure, Frank, Tom and Emanuele scored Audi's maiden Le Mans victory at only its second attempt.

Laurent, Stephane and I finished a lap down in second with Christian, Michele and Rinaldo a further two laps in arrears.

Basically a six minute precautionary pit-stop to change the gearbox and rear suspension just before 11pm on Saturday evening ultimately cost us the victory. Although the car was only stationary for a very short period, which was an incredible feat by the mechanics in itself, it was nevertheless equivalent to almost two laps.

Apart from a 10-minute spell immediately after a lengthy safety car period in the first hour which saw cars making unscheduled pit stops, our car led the opening six hours despite Stephane giving me a heart failure when he spun exiting Indianapolis.

As a precaution, the Audi R8's rear section, comprising of suspension and gearbox, was later changed.

Infact that brief 10-minute spell was in fact the only time a non-Audi led this year's Le Mans, the David Brabham Panoz then hovering either in third or fourth position until a technical problem delayed David in the early hours of Sunday morning. I'd had an entertaining scrap with him once the pace car went in - we always seem to come up against each other.

The Alboreto R8 also lost time with a puncture and it too had its rear section changed as a precaution while the Biela Audi suffered two punctures during the first half of the race. For the second 12-hours, all three of our Audis were able to set their own individual pace, Audi Sport Team Joest management allowing each car to race against each other.

But we had lost further time in the early hours when a diffuser underneath the back of the car had to be replaced while another unscheduled stop was necessary shortly afterwards when Laurent had a problem with his pit to car radio effectively ended our hopes of victory.

Only scheduled front disc changes on each Audi combined with the regular stops for fuel and tyres were necessary as the three of us then had untroubled runs towards the chequered flag. Realistically, Frank's leading Audi would have needed to suffer a problem for our car to snatch the victory. Of course I'm disappointed but I'm absolutely thrilled for Audi.

To come to Le Mans last year and score a third and fourth place, in only their second ever sportscar race, and then return now, for what is effectively on Audi's sixth sportscar race in its history, and not only win but claim first, second and third places and with such a huge advantage over the fourth place car is a truly magnificent achievement.

Frank, Emanuele and Tom drove well and fully deserved their victory. They were fortunate in that the only dramas their car suffered were a couple of punctures and so they got the lucky break that you need to beat Le Mans. Another consolation for me was that I set the race's fastest lap, during a good three-hour stint between 5-8am on Sunday. Hope you've enjoyed my diary and if you were at Le Mans, thanks for your support.

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