Audi's drivers hailed the performance and driving ease of the new R18 TDI at Le Mans after it emerged quickest from Sunday's official test day.
Tom Kristensen and Mike Rockenfeller gave Audi a 1-2 in the test, although Stephane Sarrazin was within 0.2sec in the best of the Peugeots. While Audi has completed extensive testing elsewhere with its new closed-top car, this was its first run at the home of the race it has been primarily designed for.
"The efficiency and the work of Audi have really impressed me," said Kristensen. "You can really feel the aerodynamics and the car is very comfortable. Already now we have gathered valuable information."
Andre Lotterer said the car's driver-friendly nature was proving to be one of its biggest assets.
"Since December, we've tested a lot with the R18 TDI. Now it had to show its mettle for the first time in the Le Mans pre-test," he said. "We were all eagerly anticipating this day.
"For me, the car is very pleasant to drive. It is comfortable – which is a big advantage at Le Mans. You can easily adapt and drive very soon, very fast without having to care."
Benoit Treluyer added: "The car felt very pleasant: It's easy to drive and you quickly gain confidence. Hence you're quick out of the box even when conditions are tricky. Especially in fast corners, this is important. Bearing in mind those were our first kilometers with the R18 TDI at Le Mans, it is a very good basis."
Allan McNish was also extremely satisfied, but warned that the testing picture could have been deceptive.
"It was very important here for us with the new R18 TDI to try to understand how the car would react on this type of track," he said. "We have found a good base setup. Admittedly, the circuit will change between now and June. But we have found a good base and a good confidence level.
"The chassis has been pretty consistent, the tires have been very good. We are on target but until we get to the race in June we are not going to see what everybody has got."