Q. You have already said that Peugeot's protest and subsequent appeal has not affected Audi's pre-race preparations, but is it damaging for the event as a whole to have these doubts cast during the week of the race?Dr Wolfgang Ullrich:
This is a one off, and this comes because one company has decided to go down this route. I think we should not put the whole system under question mark because of that. The Le Mans 24 Hours is not the very first time that something happened because in any race there can be a protest coming against any other competitor what-so-ever, this is part of motorsport.
We will see how this ends up. For us I would say there is no difference made because we know that our car has been homologated as it is, we have run through scrutineering here, so there is no reason for us to be concerned.
The ACO has always found solutions to bring the manufacturers together and discuss about rulebooks of the future. This will be done for sure again and I hope that in the future always discussions like this can run in preparation and not in a way to bring it at the race weekend. If somebody is surprised how our car looks like now, I do not understand because it has looked like this since eighth months.Q. If Peugeot were to pull out of Le Mans after this year, would the race be as attractive to Audi without having its chief rival to compete against?WU:
I only can say it's always a pity if a strong competitor takes a decision to pull out of a championship, but I have to say we have run here since 1999 and there have been quite some competitors around that came and went off from this championship. There is one that is still there, that is us. I think that we have shown with our consistency that whoever is there for competition, we are open to take it.Q. Do you expect the regulations to continue changing until a petrol-powered car has a genuine chance to win the race outright?WU:
I think the idea is that the challenge should be there between different concepts of technology, this is what I really push for. But we always have to have in mind that you have to compare the approaches.
Until now, there are two big manufacturers that run properly-developed, complete car concepts, including a certain power plant. And we compete against teams on very good levels, but doing it completely differently.
They have cars, different engines, trying to make compromises - it's a different approach. If you then compare the pure result of laptimes, you do not compare the engines, you compare a lot of things around, and I think this should be taken into consideration.Q. Last year, you needed factors such as weather, reliability problems for Peugeot and a perfect run for Audi to win the race. Can you win in a straight fight this time?WU:
I am quite sure that there will be a very close race, and I think it will only be the one that makes it through the 24 hours purely racing and not working on the car, will be the one with their noses in front.
But if you don't have the speed of the competitor, it is nearly impossible. We know they worked a lot on their reliability and I think it will be one of the toughest races ever.