Former F1 driver and Le Mans 24 Hours veteran Marc Gene has been called up to replace Loic Duval in the #1 Audi R18 e-tron following the Frenchman's high speed accident during practice for the 2014 race.

Duval, a winner with Audi last season, lost control of the car whilst travelling at more than 270km/h through the Porsche Curves, striking the barrier with such force that much of the bodywork was ripped away in the impact.

Despite the severity of the accident, however, Duval escaped the crash mostly unharmed, save for grazes and abrasions, while Audi is confident it can get the car repaired in time for today's qualifying sessions.

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Duval won't return to the cockpit though, with Audi calling up Gene to rejoin its line-up having driven with the manufacturer in 2012 and 2013. For the team, however, its priority was the positive outcome to a serious circumstance.

"The accident looked horrible," said Chris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport. "It speaks for the safety concept of the Audi R18 and the Le Mans prototypes that Lo?c survived the enormous crash nearly uninjured. We're relieved to see that he's well, considering the circumstances."

A winner in 2009 with Peugeot, Gene had been due to line up with JOTA Sport in the LMP2 class, but will now join Tom Kristensen and Lucas di Grassi in the #1 Audi provided it has been repaired.

As yet, neither Kristensen - who is targeting a tenth Le Mans win - nor di Grassi have completed a sufficient number of laps to be allowed to compete, which means Audi must repair the car today if it is to have a chance of competing at the weekend.