Rockenfeller out of DTM ride after LeMans crash

Audi Motorsport on Thursday said that eight-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen will fill in for Mike Rockenfeller during the DTM series event at the Lausitzring in Germany on June 19.

Rockenfeller, who competes in the German touring-car series full-time, was behind the wheel of the No. 1 Audi R18 TDI for a night stint at the Le Mans race on June 11-12 when he was unintentionally spun by a GTE-class Ferrari in one of the two flat-out kinks between the Mulsanne and Indianapolis corners. The car disintegrated on what is believed to have been several impacts with the barriers on both sides of the course.

The German driver, who sits third in the DTM standings, is recovering quickly, but Audi wants to be sure he is fully fit before he returns to DTM.

"Knowing well that Mike is fighting for the DTM title this year, his full recovery has absolute priority," said Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi Motorsport. "After prior consultation with our team doctor, I have decided to rest him this coming weekend for the [upcoming non-DTM] 24-hour race at the Nurburgring."

Therefore, the 43-year-old Kristensen will return to DTM racing for the first time since 2009. The Dane competed in DTM for Audi between 2004 and 2009. He stood on the Lausitzring podium in 2005 and 2006. "First of all, I'm sorry for Rocky that he will miss this race,"

Kristensen said. "I wish him a speedy recovery. After being out of DTM for two years, it will certainly be very tough to come back. But when Dr. Ullrich called me, it was self-evident for me to help Audi Sport in this situation. I'm looking forward to seeing all the old friends again and will try to substitute for Rocky as well as possible." AutoWeek

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