Three-times Le Mans winner Rinaldo Capello says the long period of time spent behind the safety car following Benoit Treluyer's accident allowed Audi to fix a problem with the engine temperature that had threatened the team's third position in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours.
The #1 Audi R15 has been in vain pursuit of the two factory Peugeots for much of the night, but is now two laps behind leader Marc Gene, following the work done to the new-for-09 second generation turbo-diesel prototype.
"I spent a lot of time behind the pace car and a few times I had to go back to the garage to fix some problems," said Capello after his second stint in the car. "We had too high a temperature which cost us a lot of power.
"I would say that just in the last few laps my car started to get OK. But before that I was losing quite a lot of speed on the straight.
"But you know all the job we have done in the pits it worked and now it seems that the temperature is OK and we are back to the standard power we should have."
Capello admitted that the chances of him and his team-mates Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish retaining Audi's unbroken run of diesel victories looked slim unless the leading Peugeots ran in to trouble, but said they would not give up the fight.
"We are two laps behind," said the Italian. "You know at Le Mans you never know and we will keep pushing but actually we are quite far away.
"It has been frustrating because we don't have the chance to fight, that's the problem. Immediately the first safety car cost us half a lap. If you lose half a lap two or three times, you quickly lose a big gap."