01/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 14:03

Gareth Roberts: Young Welsh rally star killed in Sicily

Category: Wales

Published: 16th Jun 2012 11:40:59

A rising Welsh star in world motor rallying, 24-year-old Gareth Roberts, has been killed in an event in Italy.

He was co-driver in the Peugeot 207 being driven by Irish team-mate Craig Breen - who was unhurt - at the Targa Florio rally in Sicily.

The event is part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. No spectators were involved.

The rest of the event has been called off as a mark of respect to Roberts, from Carmarthen.

The entire rally community is in shock today, and we all feel for Gareth's family”

In a statement, IRC organisers 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."

The incident happened on the 18km (11 mile) Cefalu stage of the rally, which began on Thursday.

The IRC event, which is broadcast on the Eurosport TV channel, added: "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."

Roberts was an up-and-coming star of the motor rally world, winning last year's World Rally Championship Academy event, alongside driver Breen.

He celebrated the win in Cardiff, snatching the victory on the last day of the six-round event when the championship came to Wales as part of the Wales Rally GB.

He began competitive driving in 2004 when he was a teenager, with success alongside fellow Welshman Elfyn Evans, from Dolgellau, in the Fiesta Sport Trophy series.

Roberts teamed up with Breen in 2009, steadily working their way up the rankings before taking last years inaugural WRC Academy Cup.

Speaking of Roberts following a recent event in Corsica, Breen said: "Gareth is a magician, he's incredible how he gets every note out so quickly. I couldn't do it without him."

The BBC's rallying correspondent, Mark James said: "They'd started racing in the World Rally Championship this year and were only in this IRC event to gain more experience.

"Since a spate of deaths in the 1980s, rallying has been seen as a far safer sport than it used to be and this is a huge shock.

"The entire rally community is in shock today, and we all feel for Gareth's family and friends at this time."

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BBC News, 2012. Gareth Roberts: Young Welsh rally star killed in Sicily [Online] (Updated 16th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1435022/Gareth-Roberts-Young-Welsh-rally-star-killed-in-Sicily [Accessed 1st Sep 2014]

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