Allan McNish admitted he has never driven as cautiously as in the Shanghai 6 Hours to secure the World Endurance Championship title with Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval.
McNish, who undertook the final stint in the No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro, explained that the cautious approach planned by the trio before the laps counted down towards the finish of Saturday’s race.
The car was running in third place, its eventual finishing position, which was one spot ahead of where the trio needed to finish to take the WEC drivers’ crown, despite team-mates Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler sealing a last-gasp victory.
“Loic had a bit of moment when a GT car spun coming out of Turn 13 and went left of the track in avoidance,” explained McNish, who ran fourth behind the two Toyotas and Lotterer from the start before the retirement of the #8 Toyota. “All we saw on the TV screens was an R18 exiting stage left at high speed.
“We also had a little bit of fear about the artificial turf [which lined certain sections of curbing], because the car picked some up when Tom was driving. We tended to be a bit more cautious after those things, even though we were being very cautious already. I don’t think I’ve ever been so far away from other cars in traffic in my entire career.”
The drivers of the No. 2 Audi chose a conservative strategy despite pre-race rhetoric about going for the win after struggling to find a handling balance during free practice and seeing the pace of the Toyota TS030 Hybrids.
“We realized it was going to be tough to get ahead of the Toyotas and win the race, so we played it more conservatively,” added McNish.