Pierre Ragues has been forced to sit out of the FIA World Endurance Championship season opener after his LMP2 squad Team SARD Morand pulled out of the six hours of Silverstone race due to legal issues.

The team has withdrawn both of its Morgan Evo SARD cars from the first round of the WEC at the Northamptonshire track, but is planning to make its comeback in time for Spa.

The team announced it will not race this weekend late on Wednesday night, just hours before the driver and team sign in, citing administrative and legal reasons for its unexpected absence.

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French driver Ragues says he is thoroughly downbeat after discovering he wouldn't be competing at Silverstone and is hopeful the team will be ready for Spa. The experience Le Mans driver had been scheduled to co-drive alongside British driver Oliver Webb and Tristan Vautier in the number 43 car.

Christian Klien, Koki Saga and Zoel Amberg will also miss the WEC season opener in the team's sister car.

"I am shocked and incredibly disappointed that the team has withdrawn from this weekend's event," Ragues said. "I was looking forward to going racing in the number 43 Morgan Evo SARD car and continuing the competitive pace that we showed in the Prologue.

"I am sorry for my personal partners Group Auto and Sparco but I understand the team is doing all it can to get to Spa for the second round and beyond. I am contracted to the team for all events of this year's World Endurance Championship - including Le Mans - so I hope for positive news in due course."