Capello: No hard feelings towards McNish despite Le Mans 24 Hours crash

Audi veteran Rinaldo Capello says he does not blame Allan McNish for missing out on the chance to add a fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory to his tally on the Italian's final crack at the race

Capello: No hard feelings towards McNish despite Le Mans 24 Hours crash

McNish spun the #2 R18 e-tron Quattro into the wall at the Porsche Curves in the 22nd hour of the race as the two Audi hybrids contested the lead while on differing fuel strategies.

The Scot recovered the car to the pits, but lost a lap while its front end was replaced costing the crew any realistic chance of victory.

But 48-year-old Capello was philosophical about missing out on the chance to win what he admits is very likely to be his last Le Mans as an Audi prototype driver.

"When I saw the car in the wall, for a little while I really felt bad because I was really quite confident," Capello told AUTOSPORT afterwards. "We had a good chance to win the race.

"For sure we talked [afterwards]. I've known Allan for many, many years and I've raced with him together in many races and I've never seen him so down.

"I told him: 'Don't worry, what happened to you could have happened to me, to Tom [Kristensen], to anyone. You were fighting for the team victory, we win together and we lose together'.

"But then I told him 'You will win the WEC championship and everything will be forgotten!'"

The #2 Audi was delayed in the early stages of the race when it pitted to remove rubber build up that was affecting its rear suspension travel. And Capello admitted he was surprised his car came back into contention after the rival Toyotas crashed and his own team-mates hit trouble through the night.

He even believes his crew had the better chance of winning before McNish's accident.

"It was a strange race," said Capello. "At one stage it looked like we had no chance anymore to fight for the victory and then suddenly we get back into the race in a very strong fight.

"And from that moment all of us started to really focus on trying to win this race. But to win we had to take some risks, and you know sometimes taking risks works and sometimes it doesn't. This time it didn't.

"For sure I felt disappointed when I saw the car in the wall, but as a driver immediately my thoughts went to Allan because I know he was giving 100% to try to close the gap as much as possible to the #1 car.

"In terms of strategy I think probably we were in a better place with the fuel, and probably they needed one extra pitstop compared to us and that probably would have been the key to the race."

shares
comments
Toyota says pace during early part of the Le Mans 24 Hours was genuine

Previous article

Toyota says pace during early part of the Le Mans 24 Hours was genuine

Next article

Treluyer: Toyota has hybrid rule edge over Audi

Treluyer: Toyota has hybrid rule edge over Audi
Load comments

About this article

Series WEC
Author Simon Strang
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Plus

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
Top 10 moments of an underrated British great Plus

Top 10 moments of an underrated British great

Brian Redman was one of the best sportscar drivers of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a three-time champion on the fearsome American Formula 5000 scene. To celebrate his 84th birthday Autosport contacted him about his best races – and he decided to write the piece himself…

WEC
Mar 9, 2021
How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams Plus

How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams

The G-Drive squad has been a mainstay of endurance racing in recent years, and has linked up with Russian manufacturer Aurus in recent years to promote its brand. With a change of rules in endurance racing's top tables, the team could be well-placed to take advantage of a potential boom...

WEC
Mar 7, 2021
How Ferrari’s Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc’s legacy Plus

How Ferrari’s Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc’s legacy

OPINION: Ferrari's planned return to the top category at the Le Mans 24 Hours has further heightened anticipation for the 2023 race. Few concrete details are currently known, but already it has a high-profile superstar angling for involvement, which would make a refreshing change

WEC
Mar 5, 2021
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar exile Plus

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger Plus

The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger

Toyota's new GR010 contender for the World Endurance Championship's Hypercar era has little in common with the LMP1 TS050 that preceded it. But within the confines of the scaled back new rules, its latest challenger will be no less formidable a prospect

WEC
Jan 22, 2021
The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era Plus

The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era

Porsche is returning to the top class of Le Mans with an LMDh prototype that it hopes will write its next successful chapter in sportscar racing. But it will have to go some to emulate its 956/962, a car which defines the Group C age more than any other

WEC
Dec 16, 2020
How Kristensen forged the Mr Le Mans legend Plus

How Kristensen forged the Mr Le Mans legend

He is synonymous with success at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but Tom Kristensen's sportscar legacy amounts to much more than his record-breaking nine Le Mans wins, as the most successful driver ever at Sebring and a world champion to boot

WEC
Dec 5, 2020