Audi’s Loic Duval has been ruled out of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans following a heavy accident in practice Wednesday at Circuit de la Sarthe.
Duval, despite escaping serious injuries following the airborne incident at the Porsche Curves, has not been cleared by doctors to race after the accident, which has required a new chassis for the No. 1 Audi Sport Team Joest entry.
The news was also confirmed late Wednesday by both the FIA WEC and the Audi Sport team.
It sets off a two-pronged domino effect of replacements. Audi will now enlist reserve driver Marc Gene to replace Duval alongside Tom Kristensen and Lucas di Grassi in the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
Gene, 40, has seven prior Le Mans starts from 2007 through 2013. The last two have come with Audi after five straight with Peugeot prior to that. The Spaniard was part of the last winning lineup to beat Audi at Le Mans, co-driving with David Brabham and Alexander Wurz in 2009.
This year, Gene had been set to race for Jota Sport in LMP2, and Oliver Turvey will take his place in the No. 38 Zytek Z11SN Nissan alongside Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell.
Turvey became available following last week’s late withdrawal of the Millennium Racing team, which was planning to race the No. 22 Oreca 03 Nissan. Turvey drove with Jota in 2013; the team finished seventh in LMP2.
As it is, the defending race-winning entry is now down to just one driver with a chance to defend. Kristensen remains while Allan McNish has retired, and now Duval has been sidelined from competition.