Wallace warns 'speed not everything'

Audi may be setting the quickest times, and Lola may be tugging at their coat tails, but Cadillac driver Andy Wallace believes that car which eventually wins this year's Le Mans 24 Hours will have far more in its favour than just speed

Wallace warns 'speed not everything'

"Audi proved what a good job they can do last year, and this year they've got a car that's a bit more reliable and even faster than before," said Wallace of the formidable Audi squad.

"We've been concentrating on getting the thing to run for twenty-four hours, and at quite a fast pace as well," he explained, describing the Cadillac team's approach. "If you look at some of the Lola runners for example - yes, they're going to be fast, but I can't ever imagine them lasting 24 hours."

Speaking of Audi once more, he said "I would say they're favourite," before adding "Le Mans comes back and bites you sometimes - I'm sure they're well aware of that. It's a strange race, and anything can happen."

The 1988 winner knows from experience that keeping a car lapping quickly enough to win, over a 24-hour period, beset by a variety of conditions is more important, and indeed, difficult, than setting a blinding qualifying lap.

"With all 24-hour races, you shouldn't get too carried away," he said. "You need a car which all three of you can drive as fast as it will go, comfortably. It's no good having a car that'll go a tiny bit faster than yours, but frightens the life out of you in the middle of the night in the rain, and you can't drive it."

Cadillac has been found wanting in terms of raw pace in its race appearances so far, but has proved reliable by finishing both the Sebring 12-Hours and the Daytona 24-Hours. However, a recent test has made the team much more confident over its pace - and perhaps even within striking distance of a surprise win.

"We went to Monza to do some aerodynamic work, and we found out some really great stuff," said the Englishman. "We've got a lot more downforce than we had, and we're a lot faster down the straight as well. I'm sure we found at least four or five seconds, maybe more - it was certainly a considerable amount of time.

"It may not be the proper Cadillac line, but personally, I feel that if we can qualify in the top ten I'd be very happy, and if we just keep going, we're not going to be far away," he suggested.

"Since this Monza test, everybody's smiling a lot more."

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