Audi Motorsport driver Allan McNish has walked away from a frightening accident in the first hour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Scot, a veteran Audi driver in the French endurance race hard started the no.3 Audi R18 he shares with Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello, and after dropping back initially was running second after the leaders had stopped around the half hour mark.
Going down the Dunlop Esses, near the start of the eight mile lap, McNish attempted to pass Audi teammate Timo Bernhard for the lead. The German, who had taken the lead during the pitstops had slowed behind the no.58 Luxury Racing Ferrari of Anthony Beltoise, which McNish may have been unable to see as the trio dropped down the hill.
McNish went past Bernhard, but clipped the Ferrari, sending both cars in the gravel. While Beltoise, backed relatively harmlessly into the tyre barrier, McNish hit the barrier at a gap designed to allow recovery of cars into an area behind the gravel trap.
The impact spat the Audi in a violent corkscrew, sending parts into the area behind the wall where marshalls and photographers were watching the race.
The Audi finished upside down, but after being righted McNish was able to walk away from the wrecked car. An initial check at the track medical centre cleared him of any injury, but as a precaution he will be taken to hospital in Le Mans itself.
At the time of writing there were no reports of injury among the fans, marshalls and photographers as a result of flying debris.