LeMans Audi R18 in high-speed crash


Le Mans, France - Audi's Le Mans winner Loic Duval emerged unscathed from a huge high-speed crash that halted practice for the 24 Hours sportscar race on Wednesday.

The Frenchman, a first time winner last year who shares his car with Denmark's nine-time champion Tom Kristensen and Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi, was extracted from the mangled wreckage and taken to hospital in Le Mans.

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The remains of the Audi R18 E-Tron No1, driven by Loic Duval, are brought back to the pits after it crashed during a free practice session for the 24-hour Le Mans endurance race. Photo: Remy de la Mauviniere.

Audi Sport reported on its official Twitter feed that the driver, whose Audi R18 E-tron Quattro race car was destroyed in the impact after leaving the track at the Porsche Curves, was “unhurt apart from two grazes to the skin”.

The team added that it would do all it could to get the number one car ready for qualifying.

Last year's race was marred by tragedy when Kristensen's compatriot Allan Simonsen, who was driving an Aston Martin, died in an accident only minutes after the start.

Audi will be chasing its 13th Le Mans victory this weekend since its debut in 1999, and fifth in a row.

The team faces a tough challenge from Toyota and Porsche, the latter returning as a full works team for the first time in 16 years with Australian former F1 driver Mark Webber.

The 82nd edition of the race, to be waved away by Ferrari's double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso, starts at the Sarthe circuit in western France on Saturday.

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