The Safety Car is back on track at Le Mans with Mike Rockenfeller having gone off heavily in the #3 Audi R10 an hour and a half into the race.

As gentle rain again started to fall, the TV cameras suddenly picked up the sight of the Audi sitting on the circuit at Tertre Rouge with severe damage to the rear - the barrier on the outside of the circuit having taken a heavy hit.

"We are trying to see if Mike can get a gear and bring the car back to the pits," Audi boss Wolfgang Ullrich said. "Never give up."

Rockenfeller had held fifth place at the time of the accident with the #2 Audi leading, now in the hands of Tom Kristensen, from the sister car of Emanuele Pirro. Peugeot lie third and fourth, with the #8 car of Sebastien Bourdais leading the sister car of Nic Minassian.

A lengthy spell behind the Safety Car is now likely while the barriers are repaired.