Audi driver escapes major Le Mans crash with minor injuries

Loic Duval crash during 2014 Le Mans practice

Racing is a dangerous business. Even today’s advanced technology can’t always account for the unpredictability that comes with rolling around at high speeds on a tiny rubber contact patch.

During a free-practice session yesterday, driver Loïc Duval lost control of the number 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the Porsche Corners, hitting a barrier at more than 167 mph.

Despite the car being smashed nearly beyond recognition (as seen in the above image from Eurosport 2), Duval only suffered minor abrasions, but was hospitalized. 

Marc Gené will take over his spot for now, alongside Tom Kristensen and Lucas DiGrassi in the number 1 car.

Audi rushed to repair the car last night, so the drivers will still likely make the race. They’ll have to complete their qualifying laps tonight, as will several other teams originally scheduled to qualify yesterday.

Multiple accidents caused the session to be cut short, with only 50 minutes of the planned two hours completed. The rest of the spots on the starting grid will be filled in tonight’s session.

As of the end of yesterday’s abbreviated qualifying session, the other two Audis were in fifth and sixth place, with the two Porsche 919 Hybrids in first and second, and Toyota’s pair of TS040 Hybrids in between in third and fourth.

The race itself kicks off Saturday, and we’ll be on the ground covering it. Check our Countdown to Le Mans hub for the latest updates.