Allan McNish admitted he was devastated by his mistake in the closing stages of the Le Mans 24 Hours after the #2 Audi missed out on victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
McNish was running in the lead in the midst of a heated battle with the sister R18 e-tron Quattro when he went off at the Porsche Curves while trying to lap a backmarker with just two hours to go.
The damage sustained in the accident forced the Scot back into the pits for repairs and saw a one lap lead turned into a one lap deficit, with McNish, Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen left to settle for the second step of the podium.
“I'm devastated,” McNish said. “I'm sorry for our team: Dindo, Tom, the engineers and the mechanics. They did a perfect job throughout the race. Despite a few problems we were in contention for victory up to my accident. I caught a slower GT vehicle in the Porsche corners and expected the driver to stay on the right-hand side. But he didn't. I haven't got a clue why. I spun and crashed into the guard rail with the right front. That damaged the front bodywork and the suspension – the necessary repair cost us two laps. That was a very, very big disappointment.”
The race could yet mark the final Le Mans appearance of Capello, who had hoped to celebrate his birthday with victory, although the veteran Italian insisted that the incident was one of those things.
“Up until the accident it was a great race,” he said. “When it happened we were in contention for victory. As we could see last year, you've got to take risks if you want to win. Without those risks, Audi wouldn't have won at that time. That's why we took risks this year too. The result is a bit disappointing for the whole team and especially for Allan.
“As a racer, I know how he's feeling at the moment. Tom and I know that something like that can happen to any driver anytime, especially when you're battling for victory. Here at Le Mans, you can't afford to give away even a tenth of a second anymore. Sometimes it works out and at others it doesn't. For us, it didn't work out this time. But next time we'll have better luck again.”