Saturday, February 16, 2013

Allan McNish given opportunity for more Sebring success

Allan McNish Press Release

Dumfries-born Allan McNish will bid to chalk up his fifth and Audi's 11th victory in the Sebring 12 Hour race next month (16 March). McNish, a "veteran" of nine Sebring races, will race a diesel-hybrid Audi R18 e-tron quattro sports-prototype. McNish and Tom Kristensen (Denmark) are joined by Lucas di Grassi (Brazil) - the same line-up as at last year's São Paulo Six Hour FIA World Endurance Championship race.

"It's excellent news that Audi will race in the Sebring 12 Hours," commented McNish who will attend Audi Sport's annual winter fitness training camp in Germany next week. "It is such a part of Audi's sportscar history. Also for me as my first race for Audi was there in 2000. Unfortunately this year's race looks like being the last one for us [at Sebring] and with the American Le Mans Series before it merges with GRAND-AM in 2014 with the introduction of new car regulations. So personally, I'm delighted I'll be racing there again next month allowing me to say ‘thank you' to the American fans for supporting me and of course the Audi team and the ALMS guys too.

"Sebring has produced some superb races for me. My first in 2000 in the awesome R8 was a fight until the end. Dindo Capello, Michele Alboreto and I battled for the lead with our ‘sister' Audi. We led until we had a brake problem in the closing stages and ultimately finished second by less than 40secs.

"I won in an Audi UK entered R8 in 2004 and the following year co-drove Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro to second place in a Champion Racing R8, losing out by just over six seconds having had a great fight with 'TK'. I qualified on ‘pole', won and set the fastest race lap in 2006 in the R10 TDI, a big race as it was the first international win for a sportscar with with Diesel power.

"I started the 2008 race from ‘pole' again and won with the R15 TDI in 2009 and the R18 last year. In fact the race that I most remember is the 2009 victory. The intense battle with the Peugeot and our brand new R15 TDI was amazing. Our car was absolutely stunning, beautifully balanced and I really enjoyed the last couple of hours.

"But this year's Sebring is already very special. It'll be the end of an era and the atmosphere will certainly be felt by the crowd. Audi, and me for that matter, want to go out with another win - I would be very proud to do that. A victory would be a great way to start a new season. Dindo, Tom and I were able to achieve that last year and 'TK', Lucas and myself will be trying to earn Audi an 11th Sebring win for sure."

Photo credit: Audi Media