Audi's Mike Rockenfeller has admitted that the German manufacturer was simply outperformed by Peugeot in this year's Le Mans 24 Hours.
Rockenfeller ran at the front of the race in the opening stint, but his #2 car was an early retirement when Lucas Luhr crashed out in the Porsche Curves. Having watched the rest of the race from the sidelines, he conceded that Peugeot did a better job than Audi this year.
"It's really a shame for us but what can you say, first of all congratulations to Peugeot - I think they did a really good job," Rockenfeller told AUTOSPORT. "They were better, that's for sure. We were not and you have to accept and respect that.
"Of course it's really disappointing. The positive for me was the start, I had the first three stints and it was fun to fight with Allan [McNish]. I was getting ready for my next two or three, or four stints, and unfortunately I had no chance to drive again."
Rockenfeller believes that Audi would have benefitted from getting more race experience with the R15 prior to Le Mans.
"To be honest, we are a little bit spoiled from the last years. You cannot win every year, especially against the strong competition we have. We have a new car and we didn't race a lot with it. We raced at Sebring but maybe that wasn't enough to learn more about it and see the problems, which we had in the race -- we have to face that.
"Now we have to go home, do our homework and come back and be stronger. We have to stand up and say 'OK, now we have to improve.' You can't plan to win, you can only prepare yourself and plan to do your best.
"I guess everyone could see that we were not where we wanted to be. Also I think we didn't use all the performance of the car. If you forget the problems we had, with the radiators and stuff, we were also just too slow."