Anthony Davidson has denied that he was to blame for the accident that ruined the race of the No. 64 Corvette, which had been leading the GT2 class.
Davidson was on a charge in the No. 1 Peugeot in an attempt to haul the car back into contention for victory, when he came up to lap Emmanuel Collard.
He tried to get down the inside in the Porsche Curves but the cars clashed. There was no contact but Collard still spun into the wall.
"Everyone's blaming me, but it wasn't me at all – it was completely his fault," said Davidson. "I was down the inside and there was no contact. They were in the lead and I didn't know that. When you're in the lead you take fewer risks, I was on a mission out there.
"I ended up on the racing line, it was a passing move on the inside. The GT cars can make your life difficult there – they don't like you to pass them in the Porsche Curves – I know that because I was the same when I was in a GT car here. But they don't need to, we're so much faster and it's so easy to do, just stay on the outside.
"I'm sorry for them, but I didn't even know he'd gone off because we didn't touch."
Davidson had a lively stint while trying to catch the Audis, consistently lapping five seconds quicker than the R15s but also tripping over a Ferrari and bouncing across the grass on his way into the pitlane.
"I'll take as many risks as I need to win the damn thing," he said. "They told me to push and I did. I drove every lap like a quali lap, even coming into the pitlane – I didn't come here to finish third."
Davidson has now handed the No. 1 Peugeot to Alex Wurz, who is still one lap behind the leading Audis. The No. 64 Corvette did return to the track, but retired soon after with an engine failure.