Mansell crashes at start of Le Mans 24 hours

Le Mans: Former Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell crashed just after the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race on Saturday while Peugeot filled the first four places.

The 56-year-old Briton, racing with his sons Greg and Leo in a Ginetta Zytek, spun and hit the guardrail 20 minutes after the 55 cars had left the grid.

Organisers said his condition was OK.

The safety car was deployed after the crash on the damp and slippery 13.4km Sarthe circuit while the 1992 Formula One champion was taken to an ambulance.

After eight laps, the 908 HDi diesel-powered Peugeots looked very much the race favourites after sweeping the front two rows of the starting grid in qualifying.

Portuguese Pedro Lamy had the first stint in the leading number three Peugeot, which French ex-Formula One driver and four times ChampCar champion Sebastien Bourdais had put on pole.

Frenchman Franck Montagny was second, 2.5 seconds adrift, and Spaniard Marc Gene was third.

The non-works Oreca Peugeot driven by Nicolas Lapierre was fourth acting as a cushion in front of the first Audi R15 of Briton Allan McNish 57 seconds off the pace.

Audi, whose five-year reign was ended by Peugeot last year when the French manufacturer took their first Le Mans victory since 1993, also filled the next two places.

Bureau Report

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