More Than A Contender:Dindo Capello
EC: How are you feeling today? How were you greeted when you returned home?DC: I was on the train (TGV) from Le Mans to the airport at 7:30 a.m. and for the first three hours after my wake-up call I was still sleepy, but when I got the first Italian newspaper in the plane and saw a large photo of me on the podium I started to think that Allan, TK, and I, we did something great.
EC: Last year you were miles ahead of the field and could have cruised to victory until the wheel nut incident. This year it was flat-out attack, how was it going from being the hunted like last year to being the hunter?DC: From one side it was less pressure; from the other side we all knew that to have a small chance to win this year we had to make exactly the same race like 2007, which almost was the perfect race, but without the incident. We also knew that would've been almost impossible to repeat it, but we did it.
EC: TK and Nishy have different driving styles than you do. The R10 appeared to be more on the edge this time, were these changes to the aero or just down-to-driving performances?DC: I felt the car in some stints was not as good as in other stints with some movement on the tires that make it not so nice to drive. I don't think it's coming from the new aero package.
EC: You get the same question I asked Nishy. Every driver has a big moment at Le Mans. Nothing could top yours personally from last year, but what was this year's?DC: To be honest, the race for me went very well without any risk of having an accident with slower cars or driving errors. I would say a big moment was when I was on slicks and I had to bring the car back to the pits in heavy rain. I thought I was very slow but later when I checked I had gained more than 10 seconds during that lap.
EC: A lot of drivers don't appear in the pits until just before their stint. You always seem to be quite comfortable hanging out and taking it all in. Is this your way of getting ready or do you just enjoy being there?DC: Very often I would like to stay away from the pits, and especially from the monitors, but at the end I am always focused on the pace of my teammates and the coverage of the race. I should be more relaxed!
EC: You've had a difficult season so far with just about every mishap or mechanical problem possible. At any time during the 24 hours were you ever thinking, "OK Dindo, what is going to happen next?"DC: At the end of my first four stints I immediately thought: This is the first time that Allan and I have done six hours without any problems! This was at least the first good news of the race for me.
EC: The victory showed a rare glimpse of a genuine letting go of emotion from the Audi team right on down to Dr. Ullrich. It was evident on the podium. This must have felt very different from your previous wins at Le Mans.DC: For me the photo of the podium with Dr. Ullrich, Ralf Juttner, and the drivers all together shows exactly how strong the team spirit has been in the No. 2 car. I also felt that for many people this victory was at least as important as the very first one in 2000.
EC: Why don't you ask Audi for one of the race cars you drove and put it away for your children one day?DC: That would be great, but to be able to afford that, Audi should first increase the drivers' salaries.
EC: Teams are always looking for youth, not to say that you're old but this has been both a profession and a living. Not only have you been successful, you continue to outpace a lot of people. What gets a driver to a plateau like that to remain sharp and competitive?DC: I'm working very, very hard to keep in shape, not only for the body but also for the mind and for the eyes. I would say that I invest a lot of money in training. Plus, I have the will to fight to keep my seat.
EC: You haven't been back to the U.S. since Sebring. Don't you think it's time for you and the wee Scot to come back? We forgive you.DC: I really miss the ALMS even though the LMS is a great championship. Yes, it would be nice to be back with Allan in the States. Why not?