Breen's co-driver killed in crash

 

Rallying:Craig Breen’s navigator, Gareth Roberts, has died following a crash in Northern Sicily during the Targa Florio rally. The Waterford-born driver was unhurt in the accident.

The crash happened during the eighth stage of the rally when their Peugeot 207 went off the road about five miles from the start of the Cefalu leg. A guard rail entered the car on the right side, where Welshman Roberts, 24, was seated.

Targa Florio said on its website that nearby emergency crews responded immediately but that Roberts died instantly.

Organisers immediately ended the rally, which was in its 96th edition. The 106-mile Targa Florio this year became part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, taking the place of Hungary’s Mecsek Rally.

A statement from IRC said: “On stage eight of Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia there was an accident involving car number 15, Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts, which resulted in the stage being stopped to enable medical crews to attend the scene.

“Despite their best efforts, Gareth Roberts succumbed to his injuries and the remainder of the event has been cancelled as a mark of respect. Craig Breen was unhurt in the accident. No spectators were involved.

“Intercontinental Rally Challenge promoter Eurosport Events joins the IRC community in offering its sincere condolences to Gareth’s family and friends who are in our thoughts at this very sad time.”

Breen and Roberts were lying sixth in the rally after seven stages when the accident took place.

IRC Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas said: “It’s a very sad accident that reminds us that motorsport is dangerous: accidents can affect both driver and co-driver in rallying.

“As the president of the Automobile Club Palermo, Antonio Marasco, said after the accident, the Targa Florio is an event where many great champions have left us in the past, and sadly this has happened again.

“The death of a 24-year-old young man at the start of a fantastic career is always a tragedy. From the start of this year, together with Craig Breen, Gareth has put in some excellent performances and the crew really got themselves noticed.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that these performances would have got even better.

“At this terrible time, I’m thinking very much of Gareth’s family, to whom all of us at Eurosport Events pass on our sincere condolences.”