[QODLink]
Sport

Allan Simonsen dies during Le Mans race

Danish driver is first killed at Le Mans 24 Hours race since 1986 after spinning Aston Martin fatally on lap three.

Last Modified: 22 Jun 2013 19:09
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Simonsen (far left) attends parade on eve of 90th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race in western France [AP]

Danish driver Allan Simonsen has died after crashing at the Le Mans 24 Hours in France on Saturday, the first fatality during the famous race for 27 years.

The 34-year-old, driving an Aston Martin, spun into the barriers at Tertre Rouge on lap three after 10 minutes.

"In a serious condition, Allan Simonsen was transferred immediately to the Circuit Medical Centre where he died soon after due to his injuries," read a statement on the event's website.

Simonsen, widely regarded as an extremely fast endurance driver, was competing in the GTE Am class in the 90th anniversary edition of the annual epic sportscar race.

Media reports said he was conscious and talking to doctors immediately following the accident.

He was attended at the scene of the crash by staff from the Automobile Club de l'Ouest's medical service who transferred him to the Circuit Medical Centre where he died.  

Aston Martin team chief David Richards informed his family, who said they wanted the team to carry on in the event in tribute to Simonsen.

Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw added in a statement: "On behalf of all of us at Aston Martin Racing, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the individuals, and families whose friends or loved ones were
involved in today's terrible tragedy."

Cause uncertain

Simonsen had taken part in seven Le Mans 24 Hours events.

His co-drivers in the car, numbered 95, were compatriots Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen.

In a statement, the organisers (Automobile Club de l'Ouest) said that no further information will be released "while the exact reasons for the accident are still being determined". 

Just being at Le Mans and to be allowed to drive the car on the track is incredibly special... It's the biggest race for us

Allan Simonsen, Le Mans driver

Simonsen was quoted telling reporters on Friday that he was looking forward to the race with great anticipation.

"Just being at Le Mans and to be allowed to drive the car on the track is incredibly special," he said.

"It's the biggest race for us.

"It's the one we most look forward to. It's also difficult because there are so many excellent drivers from all over the world - it's a huge challenge."

After Simonsen's accident, the first hour of the race was led by the safety car until waved green flags signalled renewed racing.

Three hours after the start, German Andre Lotterer led the race in the number one Audi R18 e-tron quattro diesel hybrid ahead of two other Audis.

Simonsen's death is the first driver fatality at Le Mans since Frenchman Sebastien Enjolras was killed during pre-qualifying in 1997 and the first during the race since Austrian Jo Gartner died in 1986.

468

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Featured
After years of rapid growth, Argentina is bracing for another economic crisis as inflation eats up purchasing power.
Deaths of 13 Sherpas in Nepal has shone a light on dangerous working conditions in the Everest-climbing industry.
Al Jazeera investigation uncovers allegations of beatings and rape in Kenya's ongoing anti-terrorism operation.
Incumbent Joyce Banda has a narrow lead, but anything is possible in Malawi's May 20 elections.
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
join our mailing list