Kristensen cleared to race

Audi have announced that Tom Kristensen has been cleared by doctors to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend

Kristensen cleared to race

The seven-time winner of the French race has not competed since his accident in the first race of the DTM season at Hockenheim in April, but he has been given the all-clear to drive alongside Dindo Capello and Allan McNish as planned.

"It's a fantastic feeling," he said. "Over the last few weeks my recovery has really accelerated, and I'm delighted to be able to compete with Dindo and Allan."

Kristensen returned to the cockpit of a racing car for the first time at Brands Hatch on Saturday, when he drove an Audi DTM car which had been modified to give passenger rides.

The Dane didn't carry any passengers though, and felt good after the test. He also admitted that after just a few laps he was on the radio to the team offering feedback on the handling of the car.

Audi's head of motorsport Wolfgang Ullrich had come up with the idea when Kristensen expressed his interest in driving a car before Le Mans, and he was pleased with how it went.

"The idea behind this test was for Tom to assess whether he felt comfortable in a race car again and could also withstand the loads," said Ullrich.

"He felt comfortable in the car and good after the test, which is why, after consulting him and the doctors, we gave the green light for his comeback."

Kristensen had struggled to return to fitness in the weeks following his accident, but Audi remained patient as the effects of his crash proved to be more serious than expected.

"Le Mans is an extremely important race for Audi, and Tom, with all his experience, is an important component of our Le Mans squad," Ullrich said. "We gave him the time he needed to recover in peace and quiet from his severe accident."

Kristensen added: "It was a long break without motorsport, and on occasion, I really had to fight very hard with the effects of my accident. But I feel fit again, and the doctors checked me from head to toe and gave their final approval."

The announcement means that Mattias Ekstrom, who had been drafted into Audi's Le Mans line-up for the pre-event test earlier this month, will not compete in the race.

It also means that Mike Rockenfeller, who would have joined Capello and McNish, will return to the third Audi R10, which he will share with Lucas Luhr and Alexandre Premat.

Kristensen is also set to return to DTM action at the Norisring, one week after Le Mans.

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