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Audi leads at Le Mans race marred by driver death

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June 22, 2013 10:06 PM EST | AP


LE MANS, France — Allan McNish's Audi No. 2 led at the halfway stage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an endurance race marred by the death of Danish driver Allan Simonsen at the start.

McNish has completed 181 laps after 12 hours of racing to lead Anthony Davidson's Toyota No. 8 by one lap and Nicolas Lapierre's Toyota No. 7 by two Saturday night.

Simonsen was the first driver fatality at Le Mans since 1997. The 34-year-old Simonsen was taken to a hospital after his Aston Martin spun at high speed only 10 minutes into the race and skidded into the barrier at the Tertre Rouge corner where cars typically reach speeds of up to 105 mph.

Oliver Jarvis' Audi No. 3 was in fourth place, two laps off the pace. Defending champion Andre Lotterer's Audi No. 1 dropped to ninth place, 11 laps behind McNish.