McNish expects battle with Peugeot
Date published : 09 Jun 2010 - 21:58:44
Allan McNish has warned his legion of British fans not to expect his Audi team to set the outright pace at Le Mans at the weekend - but nevertheless predicts a "titanic battle" for supremacy will play out at the legendary 24-hour race.
McNish arrives in France bidding for a third victory in the annual endurance race, which gets under way on Saturday, but believes arch-rivals Peugeot will enjoy a slight performance advantage over his R15 TDI.
However, McNish told Press Association Sport: "I wouldn't say we're going to be in front of Peugeot, I think it would be wrong to say that, but I think we'll be close to them."
He continued: "On strategy I believe we have the upper hand, and on the driving side we're easily on a par with them, so we can attack them on all sides.
"But it's going to be a tough fight on all sides for 24 hours, so I don't think we can take anything for granted."
McNish won this event alongside Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello in 2008 but the trio had to be content with the bottom step of the podium last year as Peugeot claimed a one-two on home soil.
McNish, Kristensen and Capello also had to play second fiddle to Peugeot's diesel-powered 908 at May's 1,000km of Spa, but did so in a car running with a Le Mans-spec set-up.
McNish is confident Audi have done enough work in the design room and on the test track to again challenge for the win on Saturday, and has pointed to signs of frailty in the Peugeot ranks at Spa as grounds for optimism.
"We took confidence from the fact we were so close to them [at Spa]," said McNish, whose first victory at Le Mans came with Porsche in 1998.
"All their cars went off the road at one point or another and looked vulnerable to mistakes. All of this sets us up for one of the most titanic battles at Le Mans for a long time."