Stephane Ortelli is to miss the Le Mans 24 Hours as he continues to recover from the injuries he sustained during his Le Mans Series accident at Monza.

Ortelli picked up multiple fractures to his ankle and a torn shoulder muscle after the high-speed accident in his Courage-Oreca which saw the car fly through the air and violently barrel-roll to a stop at the first chicane of the Italian circuit - narrowly avoiding collecting the Audi of Allan McNish in the process.

Despite the accident, Ortelli hoped to fit for the biggest race on the sportscar calendar next month at La Sarthe - where he was due to partner Soheil Ayari and Loic Duval in the #5 car - but will now miss out on the chance to compete in the event on the tenth anniversary of his victory for Porsche alongside Allan McNish and Laurent Aiello.

"Having spoken to my doctors in Monaco and Canes, and with [team boss] Hugues de Chaunac, it wasn't possible to see me competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours this year," he said, "even if it will be the tenth anniversary of my win in 1998.

"I perfectly understand the Hugues did not want to take an unnecessary risk and will need six drivers who can give 110 per cent from the test days on 1 June, which wouldn't have been possible for me. I am disappointed but a quadruple break of the ankle doesn't repair itself in three weeks.

"I will continue to work on my ankle and I will be at Le Mans for the race to give my help to the team in a role that hasn't yet been decided. One thing is for sure, and that is that I will be on my two feet with a helmet and listening to the team's audio so that I can use my previous experience to help my Oreca Matmut team-mates."

Ortelli will be replaced in the team's line-up by young Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, who recently made his debut in the ALMS alongside Gil de Ferran in the new de Ferran Motorsport Acura - taking a fine third place overall finish at Miller Motorsport Park.

 

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