Spaniard Marc Gene has joined Audi's endurance line-up, stepping into the Audi R18 Ultra at the Spa-Francorchamps round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in place of Timo Bernhard.
Bernhard was injured in a testing crash following the 12 Hours of Sebring.
“At our first meetings I immediately had the impression that Marc (GenÃ©) will blend well with our sports car squad,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi Motorsport. “We very quickly reached an agreement. It's very unfortunate that Timo Bernhard won't be able to compete for us at the second WEC round at Spa as planned. At the same time, I'm pleased to see his recovery making significant progress. That's why we're sticking to our original plan of having him run at the Le Mans 24 Hours.”
Gene will join Loic Duval and Romain Dumas in crewing the no.3 Audi.
Prior to 2012 Gene had been a regular member of Peugeot's works endurance racing team and was part of the three man team that, in 2009, recorded the French manufacturer's only win at Le Mans with the 908 HDi FAP turbo-diesel.
Though, as Dr. Ullrich points out, Bernhard's recovery is on course for him to return to the driving seat for the 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 16-17) Gene will remain as a reserve driver of the Audi squad, making 2012 the third year in succession when Dr. Ullrich's team have nominated a reserve driver. Gene follows on from Lucas Luhr in 2010 and Marco Bonanomi last summer.