Allan McNish has admitted he was surprised by the pace of the No. 7 Audi R15 TDI Plus in his opening stint of the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The Scot was able to remain within striking distance of the leading trio of Peugeots in the early stages of the race before a safety car period broke up the front-running pack and caused him to lose a minute to the French team.
"I was actually much happier with our pace than I expected to be," he told AUTOSPORT. "I was able to hang on to the fight in the early laps, and I was thinking that this had us in quite a good position until the safety car broke the back of it.
"If you think back to last year, we were losing ground at the rate of between five and eight seconds per lap, that didn't happen this time. We were much closer and we were keeping within 10 seconds of them."
McNish added that he had far from given up on a third Le Mans victory, saying, "There is a long way to go yet."
"We've seen Peugeot make lots of mistakes here in the past," he said. "They've crashed in the pits, they've crashed on the track. It's an unpredictable race and it can still swing back our way."
Asked if he was hoping for another safety car, McNish said: "Well, yes, but we need to be in the right position on the track to take advantage of it and at the moment we are not."