The Charouz Racing Systems Lola Aston Martin is the first front-runner to hit major problems in the Le Mans 24 Hours after a huge off for team owner Jan Charouz.

The car, which was the highest qualifying petrol-powered car on the grid, ran well inside the top ten in the opening hour of the race, with Stefan Mucke having kept ahead of the Frank Biela Audi in the first few laps.

Despite losing time during his first stop, Mucke remained inside the top ten before putting to hand the car over to Charouz, but he then went off in dramatic fashion close to where Hideki Noda rolled the Kruse Schiller car in qualifying.

Although TV cameras missed the start of the incident, the car almost got airbourne before slamming backwards into the barrier at the Dunlop Curve.

Charouz managed to get the car going but was then forced to pull over at Tetre Rouge with parts of the bodywork flying from the car.

Although retirement on the spot looked likely, Charouz has managed to get the car going once again and has now returned to the pits with extensive damage to both the front and rear - going straight back into the garage to evaluate whether repairs can be made to get the car back on track.

"I was overtaking an LMP2 car, and I got behind on the left side where there was no grip," Charouz said. "I lost downforce because there were two cars in front of me, and I lost the rear and just started spinning off."