McNish keeping an eye on weather for Six Hours of Silverstone
Allan McNish secured second place on the grid for tomorrow's Autosport Six Hours of Silverstone after a qualifying period affected by strong winds and rain. Autoblog caught up with the Audi driver after the session.
Autoblog: That was an interesting qualifying session with the weather certainly playing its part.
Allan McNish: Yes, we knew it was going to spit with rain, not enough probably to go onto the wets, but when you sit in the car and you get wheeled out and you can see it spitting on the windscreen, you never really know, especially here, how hard it is or where it is but we decided you've got to be in it to win it.
So, we went out at the beginning in case it got worse and we got one reasonable lap in and the second was a very good lap but by the time I got to Stowe it was raining and at Club as well and that was it.
Then the rain shifted across the circuit so I'd go round and it became dry but was then wet somewhere else. It was a bit annoying but that's the way it was. We got caught a wee bit by being at the wrong end of the pitlane to be able to go and get that good first lap that Pagenaud did.
When you came in towards the end you had a long conversation with the team. What was going on there?
There were two angles to that: is it going to be dry enough to get the time – which was a bit debatable – and then what was the benefit of doing that even if it bumped us up one position when we were going to wear out the tyre to achieve it? We'd got one in the bank, no one else was going out so therefore was it worth it to do it?
I think the performance was in the car to do it but unfortunately the opportunity didn't present itself as nicely as we would have liked. As a driver you always want to have a crack at it but we did have a bigger eye on the race.
Do you think the race will be close? Is the weather going to play a part?
I think that's going to be the biggest influence. Forecasts suggested it was going to be worse than it was today but this heavy wind looks to have blown more of it over.
Does the wind have much of an effect out on the circuit?
Quite a lot of people have asked me that – partly because of the big wing down the middle – but it hasn't had any effect whatsoever. The problem I've got is that I drove the car for about 15 minutes in the wet back in November last year in its first ever run. That's a long time ago, so my wet experience is very limited, to say the least!
Have the recent changes in the regulations regarding the depth of the undertray plank made any difference?
No, you've just got to be a bit more careful of your ride height over the distance of the race, that's all. Peugeot seem to think it's a bigger problem which leads me to believe they're concerned about it from a performance point of view because they're talking about what happens if you have a puncture and it's a crazy rule. That suggests to me they require a very low ride height.
Follow Autoblog's live coverage of the Autosport Six Hours of Silverstone on Sunday, beginning at 1130.