The first hour of today's Le Mans 24 Hour race was marred by a huge accident for Audi's Scottish driver Allan McNish.
McNish had enjoyed a superb start from fifth on the grid to be running second shortly before the hour mark when he clipped the number 58 GTE Pro Ferrari of Anthony Beltoise while attempting to lap the back marker as the cars headed down towards the Esses, crashing violently into the barriers.
The Audi R18 suffered a high impact and slewed over the Armco railing throwing debris over trackside marshals and photographers.
McNish was extracted safely from his stricken car but there was no immediate word on whether any spectators had been hurt.
The accident forced the safety car onto the track and left last year's winner Timo Bernhard up front in the lead Audi ahead of its remaining sister car and the three Peugeots.
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