McNish Le Mans hopes hit by crash
The Le Mans 24-Hour Race was interrupted around 1000 GMT Sunday when two of the leading Audis were involved in a crash, forcing the safety car onto the circuit.
Spain's Marc Gene lost control of the No 3 Audi and crashed into the safety barrier at the first chicane, the exact same spot where teammate Romain Dumas had lost control of the same car on Saturday afternoon.
Soon after, Allan McNish, in the No 2 Audi, went off at the Porsche Curves and also hit the safety barrier.
McNish's car had been in the lead before the incident, but his crash left the No 1 Audi, driven by Benoit Treluyer, Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler, well placed to win the race for the second year running.
At 1045 GMT they had completed 341 laps, one more than the trio of McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello.
Audi's dominance of the race is such that this would be their 11th victory in 13 years on the circuit.
McNish was back on track after a brief visit to the pits and held second place, while the Toyota of Nicolas Prost, Neel Jani and former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld had climbed up to fourth place.
British driver McNish – who was involved in a serious crash here last year – is looking to win Le Mans for the third time.
Another British driver, Anthony Davidson, was being treated in hospital for a broken back after a spectacular crash.
Davidson's Toyota collided with the Ferrari of Piergiuseppe Perazzini, the clash sending his car airborne before smashing into a tyre barrier at Mulsanne Corner in the fifth hour of the celebrated endurance race on Saturday.
Initial reports from his team suggested he was suffering from shock and back pain, but he later tweeted from hospital: "Well that was a big one!
"Lying in a French hospital with a broken back wasn't what I had in mind at this stage in the race..."
He confirmed to autosport.com that he had breaks to his T11 and T12 vertebrae and would remain in hospital until at least Monday.
The Ferrari also ended upside down as the safety car was summoned and the race stopped.
A spokesman for Toyota initially said: "Anthony Davidson was taken to the circuit medical centre following his accident during the Le Mans 24 Hours.
"Doctors at the circuit have confirmed that Anthony is suffering from shock and back pain, however there are no signs of any injuries and he is walking and talking with no problems.
"He will be taken to a local hospital for precautionary checks but the team is relieved and happy to hear he is okay."
Former Formula One driver Sebastien Buemi, a teammate of Davidson's, said the car had been quick before the crash.
"We started very well. We lost a bit of time to the leaders but we still had good pace," he said.
"I had a really good quadruple stint and was able to catch up. I was satisfied with my performance and we clearly showed that the car is quick.
"However, the most important thing at the moment is that Anthony is well. Unfortunately these kind of incidents happen in motor racing. It is a pity that the car is out of the race as I believe we could have continued fighting at the front."