Johansson withdraws from Le Mans

FORMER Grand Prix driver Stefan Johansson has withdrawn from the Le Mans 24 Hours just a week before the event is due to take place. Johansson was to have driven an ORECA Dallara-Judd. His place in the team will be taken by Portugal's Pedro Lamy.

"I have decided to withdraw from this year s Le Mans race due to a combination of reasons", explained Stefan, a former Le Mans winner. "Le Mans is undoubtedly one of the best races in the world and it has been a very hard decision to make. I would like to point out that this has absolutely nothing to do with the team : ORECA is one of the most professional and successful teams I have ever worked with and they certainly stand a good chance of winning this year's race. This does not mean that I am retiring from driving, I look forward to being back for some more races possibly this year and undoubtedly for next year. I would like to thank ORECA for being very understanding in this matter and I wish them best of success for the race".

ORECA's Sporting Director Pierre Dieudonne, a highly successful in his day, said that the team "approves and respects" Johansson's decision. "We thank Stefan for being so honest about his feelings as it gave us time to react".

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