The Safety Car has been deployed for the first time in the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours after a huge accident involving the Toyota of Anthony Davidson.

The Briton was on a charge in third place when he collided with the AF Corse Ferrari of Pierguiseppe Perazzini on the approach to Mulsanne Corner.

Despite regulations changes designed to try and prevent prototype cars getting airbourne, Davidson's car flipped through the air before making heavy contact with the barriers, while Perrazzini's 458 Italia also hit the barriers at some speed before flipping over onto its roof.

Both drivers were able to get out of their cars, with Davidson initially trying to carry out repairs before being attended to by medics.

The Toyota and the Ferrari are both out of the race, joining the #29 Gulf Racing Lola on the retirement list.

Behind the Safety Car, the sister Toyota in the hands of Nicolas Lapierre led the race ahead of Benoit Treluyer's Audi after an aggressive battle between the pair saw Lapierre take the lead moments before Davidson's accident.

In the pits however, the Audi then moved back ahead before the two cars rejoined the circuit.

The delayed #3 Audi has also rejoined the race following the repairs carried out after Romain Dumas' accident, with the Safety Car set to be on track for some time while the barriers at Mulsanne are repaired.