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Allan McNish was forced to settle for the runners-up spot at the end of the inaugural World Endurance Championship.
McNish and co-driver Tom Kristensen finished second in the final race of the year at the Shanghai International Circuit, nearly a minute behind Toyota duo Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre after six hours and almost 650 miles.
But with the 'sister' Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer third, it was that trio who grabbed the title by 13.5 points from McNish and Kristensen.
"Tom and I knew a win was required," said McNish, who scored a win, three seconds, three thirds and a fourth from the eight races with Kristensen.
"Even then it needed bad fortune to our 'sister' car for the title to come to TK and I. That was unlikely to happen driving for Audi as our cars are ultra reliable.
"In the race second was the best we could have achieved, with Tom and I extracting the maximum out of our car."
Already looking ahead to next season, McNish added: "We'll all be working very hard over the winter.
"Audi Sport is very aware of the level of competition required to be competitive in sportscar racing at this level.
"We'll be optimising many elements for 2013."