Jani retains pole at Le Mans, while No. 63 Corvette withdrawn from race

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LE MANS, France – With no major changes on Thursday, the grid for Saturday’s 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans doesn’t look too different from how it did after Wednesday.

Neel Jani’s new lap record of 3:16.887 in the No. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid is now set as the pole position time, in the car he’ll share with Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb.

None of the three other class pole positions changed, either. Richard Bradley (LMP2, No. 47 KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan), Richie Stanaway (GTE-Pro, No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage V8) and Pedro Lamy (GTE-Am, No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage V8) retained their poles from Wednesday.

The biggest moment of drama on the day came during the second qualifying session when Jan Magnussen had a mechanical issue that took him into the barriers exiting Porsche Curves.

Sadly, the Corvette Racing team confirmed the withdrawal of the No. 63 Corvette C7.R late Thursday night as the damage was not repairable on-site. It denies Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe a chance to win at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans in the same year.

“We are thankful that Jan has been checked and released by the ACO medical staff,” said Mark Kent, Director of Chevrolet Racing. “We are disappointed that the No. 63 Corvette C7.R will be unable to compete at Le Mans this year. The Corvette Racing team put a lot of work into two C7.Rs for this event, and unfortunately only one will be in the race.”

Malcolm Stewart sidelined from Supercross by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.