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Audi R18 e-tron quattro crashes during Le Mans qualifications

It’s been an incident-packet first practice session for this year’s Le Mans, with the most important one being Loïc Duval’s brutal accident while driving the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. Despite travelling at a speed of 167 mph, he managed to escape without suffering any life-threatening injuries although he was hospitalized to receive proper medical care.

The French driver lost control of the vehicle at a very high speed and hit a barrier at the Porsche Curves. The vehicle actually went airborne but somehow Duval escaped with only a few abrasions. As you can see from this image, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro was completely destroyed after the powerful impact.

Somehow, the team managed to rebuild the car overnight in order to get it ready for the second qualification session. Duval will be replaced by Marc Gene who will race together with Lucas di Grassi and Tom Kristensen in the R18 e-tron #1 car.

When talking about the terrible event, Audi Sport’s Head of LMP racing Chris Reinke said „The accident looked horrible. It speaks for the safety concept of the Audi R18 and the Le Mans prototypes that Loïc survived the enormous crash nearly uninjured. We’re relieved to see that he’s well, considering the circumstances.”

Here are the results for the first qualifying day:

Results Qualifying 1:
1 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) 3m 23.157s
2 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) 3m 23.928s
3 Nakajima/Sarrazin/Wurz (Toyota) 3m 25.313s
4 Buemi/Davidson/Lapierre (Toyota) 3m 25.410s
5 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) 3m 26.388s
6 Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Jarvis (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) 3m 26.445s
7 Belicchi/Kraihamer/Leimer (Rebellion-Toyota) 3m 33.117s
8 Beche/Heidfeld/Prost (Rebellion-Toyota) 3m 34.922s
9 Canal/Pla/Rusinov (Morgan-Nissan) 3m 38.843s
10 Chatin/Panciatici/Webb (Alpine-Nissan)  3m 39.490s

As a reminder the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours will start on Saturday at 15:00 (CEST).

Adrian Padeanu

Long-time fan of the fabled Four Rings.