Death after rally crash
(CNN) — The rallying world has paid tribute to promising young co-driver Gareth Roberts, who was killed during a race in Sicily on Saturday.
The 24-year-old from Wales was navigating for Irish driver Craig Breen at the Targa Florio Rally, and they were sixth overall when they crashed.
Breen was unhurt in the accident, but Roberts died from his injuries according to the motorsport’s official website.
They won the inaugural FIA WRC Academy title last year, and were leading the Super 2000 World Rally Championship after three races.
“Our thoughts are with Gareth’s friends and family. The world of rallying has lost a true talent,” said M-Sport, the company which built the Ford Fiesta S2000 Breen and Roberts were using in the SWRC.
The Mille Miglia, or “Thousand Miles,” is a grand tour from Brescia in northern Italy, down to the capital city of Rome, and back again. Today, it is a leisurely classic car event. But it has a far racier history…
The race began in 1927, with entrants of varying levels of ability taking up the challenge in pursuit of glory. This picture shows British driver Geoffrey Healey taking victory at Brescia in 1949.
British motorsport legend Stirling Moss set the record for the highest average speed recorded throughout an edition of the race when he romped to victory in 1955.
Moss returned to Brescia this week with Jaguar for the start of the 2012 event. The 82-year-old described his experiences in the Mille Miglia as “frightening.”
Finland’s Mika Hakkinen, a double Formula One world champion, competed in the 2008 event.
The Mille Miglia’s existence as a pure road race was ended in 1957, when Spanish driver Alfonso de Portago’s Ferrari left the track, killing him, his co-driver and nine spectators.
The wreckage of De Portago’s car after his fatal crash in the Italian village of Guidizzolo.
Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the legendary Italian manufacturer, was present at De Portago’s funeral.
Mille Miglia – Classic car race
Sebastien Loeb is the king of the World Rally Championship. The Frenchman has won an unrivaled eight world titles and has claimed victory at the Monte Carlo Rally on five occasions.
Competitors gather at the control center ahead of the 1937 Monte Carlo Rally. The race has existed in one form or another since 1911.
French driver Paul Coltelloni guides his Citroen around Monte Carlo’s narrow twists and turns en route to winning the 1959 race.
Mini has a rich rally driving history, with the iconic car enjoying success in the elite division of motorsport in the 1960s. During its golden era, Mini won the Monte Carlo Rally three times in four years between 1964 and 1967.
In April 2010, Mini announced it would return to the World Rally Championship for 2011. Spanish driver Dani Sordo is pictured here driving for the team in this year’s race.
The Monte Carlo Rally
“I heard the sad news from Italy. Me and Jarmo want to send our condolences and our thoughts to Gareth’s family and friends on this sad day,” top Finnish rally driver Mikko Hirvonen wrote on networking website Twitter.
This season’s WRC Academy leader Alastair Fisher said: “I cannot believe what’s happened. I’m totally devastated. My thoughts are with Gareth’s family and of course Craig.”
Tire supplier Pirelli, who worked with Breen and Roberts last year, also offered condolences.
“Words cannot express our shock and sadness,” said the company’s motorsport director Paul Hembery.
Last year, Breen acknowledged Roberts’ contribution after they sealed the WRC Academy title in November.
“He’s kept my feet on the ground this weekend, which is not an easy job. Having to leave service for the last three stages knowing there was no possibility other than to win them all was very difficult,” Breen said.
“But he’s really kept me on the straight and narrow so it’s all credit to him. He’s the littlest Welsh wizard but the best of them for sure.”