Allan McNish has backed Audi to return to Le Mans in stronger shape next year after Peugeot finally knocked the German marque off the top of the podium at La Sarthe.

Having taken victory last season alongside Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen, McNish went into the 77th running of the French classic armed with Audi's new R15 TDi but it proved to be a troubled debut for the latest diesel machine from Ingolstadt.

The #1 car was forced to deal with an issue which saw its intercoolers needing to be repeatedly cleaned, with debris in the sidepods requiring the Audi squad to occasionally reduce the power of the TDi engine.

The car was also delayed by a 13 minute stop to fix issues with the suspension and electronics which left the trio to take a third place finish behind two of the factory Peugeots.

"Overall we can be relatively happy with third place," McNish reflected. "Obviously it was our aim to win and retain Audi's fantastic Le Mans record, it had to stop at some point as all good things do.

"The competition from Peugeot had been fierce for the past two years but we came out on top. This time they got the better of us but everyone at Audi Sport and Team Joest,as well as us drivers, will go home, regroup and rebuild and come back next year even stronger."