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Videos: Two major crashes mark opening half of Le Mans 24-hour race

Drivers, track crew and spectators were lucky to escape without serious injury after the dramatic smashes at the Le Mans event yesterday.

Allan McNish's Audi No 3 after it crashed out yesterday.
Allan McNish's Audi No 3 after it crashed out yesterday.
Image: AP Photo/Vincent Michel

THIS YEAR’S Le Man’s 24 Hours race saw two dramatic crashes involving Audi and Ferrari yesterday, the first of which came in the opening hour of the day-long event.

Allan McNish, driving the Audi No 3, collided with a Ferrari just 50 minutes into the race, pushing both off the track and sending McNish’s car into the tyre wall.

The Scottish driver emerged from the wrecked car unscathed but was taken to hospital as a percaution. Speaking to Autosport later about the smash, McNish said:

You don’t have any feelings at the moment of impact at that sort of speed. You are just hanging on. You know it’s going to be an accident and you are just hanging on.

Several hours – and much darker conditions – later, another Audi and Ferrari bumped on-track, causing defending champion Mike Rockenfeller’s Audi No 1 to crash into the guardrail. Rockenfeller pulled himself out of the car before it caught fire and escaped with minor cuts and bruises.

André Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer won the race in their Audi R8, giving the German car company its tenth Le Mans title. Only Porsche has more race wins, at 16. The event has been run annually in France since 1923 and is the world’s longest-running car endurance event.

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