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McNish talks about LeMans chances
If Tom Kristensen is the Great Dane, then why shouldn’t Audi mate Allan McNish be known as the Great Scot? That’s exactly what McNish has been in his American Le Mans Series and sports car racing career with wins at every marquee event in the sport. That, of course, includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans where he won in only his La Sarthe appearance in 1998 in a works Porsche. After what seems like a lifetime of near misses, McNish is back at Le Mans and hoping to add a second Le Mans crown.

Question: Will the reduction in fuel capacity have a greater effect at Le Mans than races in the American Le Mans Series?

Answer: It has a big effect in the races of the American Le Mans Series and already cost us a least one victory if not two. So I hope the effect will not be even bigger at Le Mans. Eighty-one instead of 90 liters means we will have two or three laps less with one fuel tank. We will definitely lose more time in the pits for refueling than last year.

Q: Does wanting to win the race outright again for the first time since 1998 provide extra motivation, or is the event itself enough motivation?

A: The motivation is the same as every year. Le Mans is the most important sports car race and very difficult to win. I’m looking for my second victory and my first with Audi after so many podiums. I’m preparing exactly the same way as I’ve done before. The team is well prepared. We’ve had a very strong endurance test. Dindo (Capello) and I have great successes in America. At the moment we are just hoping that Tom (Kristensen) will be able to race. 

Q: You and Dindo were dominant in the Series last year and have been so again this season. Is that success something that you can carry over from the American Le Mans Series to Le Mans?

A: Of course we try to bring this momentum to Le Mans. But Le Mans is not only about speed. It’s all about reliability. We had some bad luck last year while our ‘sister car was running without any troubles. Our R10 TDI was running like clockwork at the Test Day. I hope this will be also the case next week. But you can never be sure at Le Mans and you always have to expect the unexpected.

Q: Finally, everyone wants to know the challenge Peugeot presents. What is your take?

A: It’s great to have Peugeot. They have a great reputation in motorsport and are taking this project very seriously. They have a strong team and good drivers. It will be a big battle between Audi and Peugeot which is good for the race and the sport. We’ve seen at the Test Day that they have a very fast car. I’m convinced they will be even faster in qualifying because nobody is going for records at the Test Day. It will be a very interesting week.

The 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. ET) on Saturday, June 16 from the Circuit de la Sarthe. SPEED will provide 17.5 hours of coverage in North America starting at 8:30 a.m. ET on June 16. MotorsTV will air week-long coverage throughout Europe. Live coverage can be found on Radio Le Mans through americanlemans.com.

Round Six of the American Le Mans Series is the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, set for 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 7 at Lime Rock Park. CBS Sports will televise the race at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 8. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

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