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Thursday June 12, 2014 MYT 4:38:33 AM
Thursday June 12, 2014 MYT 4:39:34 AM
Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro Number 2 driver Loic Duval of France kisses his car as he celebrates after his team won the Le Mans 24-hour sportscar race in Le Mans, central France June 23, 2013. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
(Reuters) - Audi's Le Mans winner Loic Duval emerged unscathed from a huge high-speed crash that halted practice for the 24 Hours sportscar race on Wednesday.
The Frenchman, a first time winner last year who shares his car with Denmark's nine-time champion Tom Kristensen and Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi, was extracted from the mangled wreckage and taken to hospital in Le Mans.
Audi Sport reported on their official Twitter feed that the driver, whose car was destroyed in the impact after leaving the track at the Porsche Curves, was "unhurt apart from two grazes to the skin".
The team added that they would do all they could to get the number one car ready for qualifying.
Last year's race was marred by tragedy when Kristensen's compatriot Allan Simonsen, who was driving an Aston Martin, died in an accident only minutes after the start.
Audi will be chasing their 13th Le Mans victory this weekend since their debut in 1999, and fifth in a row.
They face a tough challenge from Toyota and Porsche, returning as a full works team for the first time in 16 years with Australian former F1 driver Mark Webber.
The 82nd edition of the race, to be waved away by Ferrari's double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso, starts at the Sarthe circuit in western France on Saturday.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Martyn Herman)
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