Allan McNish heads for the next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Japan next month having crucially extended his points lead yesterday (SUN).
Dumfries-born McNish plus co-drivers Tom Kristensen (Den) and Loïc Duval (F) brought their hybrid-diesel Audi R18 e-tron quattro home 23.617secs ahead of their nearest challengers in a Six Hour race at the Circuit Of The Americas in Texas.
McNish, Kristensen and Duval now enjoy a 33-point lead with three races remaining.
“It’s a fantastic victory for our car. Our Audi was great from the start of the race and we had the pace and consistency throughout but Toyota took the fight to us.”
Competing for the very first time at the impressive COTA facility which only opened last year, the McNish/Kristensen/Duval Audi started from pole-position on the 28-car grid in hot and humid conditions and traded the lead with the singleton Toyota from start to finish.
Their Audi consistently lapped faster around the 3.427-mile COTA facility in Austin but experienced longer pit-stops compared to the opposition.
“We changed our car’s tyres at all but our final ‘splash and dash’ pit-stop unlike the Toyota which double “stinted its tyres,”
Continued McNish who drove an opening 45mins single stint after Duval’s start before a 75mins run to the chequered flag.
“So although we led, after each pit-stop cycle for both cars throughout the race, we found ourselves playing ‘catch up’ and had to hunt down the opposition after they’d spent less time stationary in the pits.”
The win marks the 100th victory for Audi in sportscar racing since the German manufacturer entered the category in 1999. Allan added,
“We were forced to push all the way to the end which makes achieving Audi’s 100th sportscar victory even more sweet and I am very proud to be able with Tom and Loïc to put another little piece of Audi history together.”
The second Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron quattro driven by defending WEC champions Marcel Fässler (CH)/André Lotterer (D)/Benoît Tréluyer (F) finished third, one lap down, in today’s Six Hour race having set the race’s fastest lap.
They remain second in this year’s standings despite enduring a torrid time having been launched in to the air by a GT car. The Audi required two pit-stops to replace damaged rear bodywork then another stop to solve an electrical issue that caused a brief gearbox gremlin.
The sixth round of the series is staged at the Fuji International Speedway in Japan on 20 October.