Tom Kristensen will sit out this weekend's Le Mans Series opener at Paul Ricard as he has not completely recovered from a torn heel tendon he sustained when playing badminton in January.
The Dane had been set to share the new Audi R15 Plus with Allan McNish and Dindo Capello, but although he fared well in his first test since the injury at Monza on Wednesday, he decided in consultation with the team's medics that it would be better not to race on Sunday.
"After just a few laps I really felt comfortable in the cockpit again and I had much less of a problem than in 2007 after my serious DTM accident," Kristensen wrote in a column for Audi's website. "The lap times were immediately right and I reeled off the short program which the guys from Audi Sport Team Joest had given me.
"Using the clutch was the most painful thing for me to do, because I can't properly push down the pedal yet. I'm sure you can imagine that it takes a lot of force to depress the clutch pedal in a LMP1 TDI car. You've got to push 110lbs each time – and, in my case, with an injured left foot that was heavily swollen after the test. That's why Audi's doc Christian John, the team and I decided yesterday that I will not race at Le Castellet this weekend."
Kristensen highlighted that as Audi was not contesting the full LMS and only using Ricard as part of its Le Mans 24 Hours preparations, it was more important for him to be fully fit for the forthcoming pre-Le Mans tests.
"Because I've been making such good progress with my recovery we can't take any risks – and, what's more, the tests on the agenda for the next few weeks are a lot more important for Audi and me than the race at Le Castellet," he said. "Le Mans continues to be our big aim and we mustn't lose sight of that."
"Now, don't get me wrong: It's not that the race at Le Castellet isn't important to Audi – it is, but it's not the same as the season opener of a racing series. We're not competing for the championship here. Instead we're using Le Castellet to get to know the R15 plus in racing conditions as early as possible and to get the team to gel."