Former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Guy Smith suffered disappointment in this year's race when Rebellion Racing failed to make it to the chequered flag

The 35-year-old retired from the 78th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance sportscar race shortly after one-third distance when French co-driver Jean-Christophe Boullion crashed their Lola-Rebellion Coup? out of eleventh place, with the sister car also failing to make it the finish.

"I am very disappointed but we all make mistakes and I have huge respect for Jean-Christophe," Smith said. "My stint earlier in the race had been very good despite only managing a handful of laps in practice. I was really happy with the balance of the car and was able to immediately settle into a good rhythm.

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"I'd recorded our car's fastest lap and was looking forward to my second stint, readying myself for a near four-hour session behind the wheel when unfortunately Jean-Christophe lost control after reporting a problem with our car's headlights.

"He hit the guard rail hard damaging the car beyond repair. We'd been hovering just outside the top-ten and were looking good for a top-three amongst the petrol-engined cars."

The Rebellion sportscar of Smith, Boullion and Andrea Belicchi had started the annual race from 18th place on the 55-car grid. Smith, who won the race for Bentley in 2003 and then finished second the following year, was competing in the twice-around-the clock marathon for the seventh time in his career.

Smith now returns to his regular seat with Dyson Racing in the American Le Mans Series.