Le Mans star walks away after horrifying birthday smash


Audi's Le Mans winner Loic Duval has been ruled out of the 24 Hours sportscar race on doctors' orders this weekend after a heavy crash in practice on Wednesday.

On the day before his 32nd birthday the Frenchman escaped with only scratches from the high-speed impact that demolished his car but Audi announced later that Spanish reserve Marc Gene would replace him in the rebuilt number one car.

Organisers said doctors had submitted a report to the marshals "disallowing him from racing after the accident he experienced."

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Duval won the race last year, as well as the world endurance championship, in a car he shared with Denmark's nine times winner Tom Kristensen and now-retired Scot Allan McNish.

Kristensen is seeking a record-extending 10th win this year with Lucas Di Grassi replacing McNish and hoping to become Brazil's first winner.

The race at the Sarthe circuit in western France starts on Saturday.

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