Audi is confident that its R15 TDI had the speed to win the Sebring 12 Hours but for the incidents that delayed both its cars.
The No. 1 car of Mike Rockenfeller, Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard suffered two punctures in close succession in the early hours, the first due to running over debris, and the second after bodywork rubbed on the tire.
Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen were fighting the Peugeots for victory until Marc Gene's 908 collided with Capello, ending both cars' shot at the win. That left Audi team boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich convinced that a victory had been snatched away from his squad.
"Today we had the performance to get on the highest spot of the podium," he said. "But unfortunately we had problems with both cars we could not really influence. The team afterward simply tried to make the best of it.
"After the problems, which were not our fault, both cars recorded consistently good lap times. The R15 TDI would have certainly deserved a better conclusion. And that today would have been possible. Now we have to look forward."
Capello said Gene was solely to blame for the tangle between the No. 2 Audi and No. 7 Peugeot.
"The incident with Gene destroyed the race for the No. 2 Audi and affected me mentally in my last stint. The car was capable of going faster, Tom and Allan showed that," said the Italian. "Watching the television replays of the incident, it is clear I was not responsible for the accident – and only this makes me feel a little more relaxed. To have our race effectively ended before mid-distance was frustrating."
Gene, however, felt it was a racing incident.
"I was level with Dindo Capello, I braked fairly late, and we ended up turning into the corner at the same time and coming together," he said. "It was a real shame because our car was handling very well."