Nigel Mansell brought out a safety car period after just 18 minutes of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Driving at maximum pace and on the straight approaching the Indianapolis corner on his fifth lap, Mansell's Ginetta-Zytek 09S spun into the barriers.
The former Formula One and CART champion was able to eventually climb out of the cockpit of the LMP1 entry, but the car was withdrawn before sons Leo and Greg could participate in the 78th edition of the French endurance classic.
The incident started a controversial safety car period, the first using the new three-car method introduced by the Automobile Club de L'Ouest. The second safety car picked up a group including the chasing Audi entries in fifth, sixth and seventh, creating a bigger gap to the leading four Peugeot entries.
"It's a part of the game and everybody has to cope with it," said Wolfgang Ulrich, director of Audi Sport. "There was a big discussion about (the three safety cars). If the ACO decides that this is the way it will work, everybody will have to cope with it."
After a 31-minute safety car period, the leading Peugeots resumed on the Apit straight, while the three Audi's did not come past the start/finish Auntil 57 seconds later. Prior to the safety car period, the lead No. 7 Audi of Allan McNish had trailed the leading No. 1 Peugeot of Pedro Lamy Aby 12 seconds.