• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Denmark's Simonsen dies at Le Mans

AFP · 22 Jun 2013, 20:16

Published: 22 Jun 2013 20:16 GMT+02:00

The 34-year-old, competing in the mythic race for the seventh time, spun off on the third lap into the safety barriers at the ultra-quick Tertre Rouge bend, demolishing his car.

Le Mans organisers The Automobile Club de l'Ouest issued a statement reporting that emergency services were immediately at the scene to attend the stricken driver.

It continued: "In a serious condition, Allan Simonsen was transferred immediately to the Circuit Medical Centre where he died soon after due to his injuries.

"The Automobile Club de l'Ouest wishes to express its great sadness following this incident, and extends its deepest condolences to the family and those close to Allan Simonsen."

Simonsen crashed barely ten minutes after the start of the 81st edition of the showpiece endurance event with rain and wind combining to make testing conditions at the Sarthe circuit.

The race was stopped the race for an hour, the time required to remove debris from the track and repair the safety barrier.

The father of one, driving an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, was competing in the GTE-Am category.

His team mates in the No.95 car were his fellow countrymen, Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen. Two days ago they had been celebrating taking pole position.

Former Formula One champion Jenson Button led tributes to Simonsen.

The McLaren driver posting on Twitter: "Allan Simonsen RIP.such a tragic loss. A true fighter & a true racer. Safety is something we need 2 improve on in Motorsport."

Another former F1 champion, Finn Kimi Raikkonen, added: "R.I.P. Allan Simonsen. Sad news."

Story continues below…

Simonsen was the first driver to die during the race since Austrian Josef Gartner, driving a Porsche, in 1986, and the 23rd overall, including fatalities in qualifying for the race.

Simonsen, who listed Le Mans as his favourite circuit on his personal webpage, was born in Odense, and graduated to endurance racing after starting out as a mechanic.

The former Danish Formula Ford champion's last win came in April at Silverstone where he won the GT-AM class in the Aston Martin with Poulsen and Nygaard.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Paris unveils first stretch of 'bicycle highway'
Photo: AFP

Could Paris be on the way to becoming the new Amsterdam for bikes?

French air traffic control unions call for June strikes
Photo: AFP

Air traffic controllers and thousands of other workers could be set for a three day strike at the beginning of June.

IMF urges France to deepen job reforms
Photo: AFP

The International Monetary Fund has warned France to go beyond its already hotly contested job market reforms.

Dordogne named among the 'best places in Europe'
Photo: Dale Musselman/Flickr

Travel company the Lonely Planet calls the Dordogne "France's foodiest region".

French fuel crisis: 'A quarter' of petrol stations run dry
Workers on strike block the access to the harbour of Saint-Nazaire, western France to protest against the government's planned labour law reforms. Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Over 3,200 petrol stations are now reportedly empty or running dry.

French police 'raid Google's Paris offices in tax probe'
Photo: AFP

Around 100 French officials and police have raided Google's offices in Paris, reports say.

EgyptAir Flight MS804
EgyptAir: Human remains 'suggest explosion on board'
Photo: Egyptian Armed Forces

New findings, if confirmed, would support the theory that a bomb may have brought down the plane.

How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
How to avoid the fuel crisis in France. Photo: AFP

There are far worse places to be stuck with no fuel than rural France, but here's some official advice on how holidaymakers can avoid becoming stranded.

Special ops units to police Tour de France for first time
Photo: AFP

France is taking security at the Tour de France extremely seriously this year.

How French rail services will be hit by this week's strike
Photo: AFP

Another tricky couple of days for rail travel lie ahead this week.

National
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
International
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
Lifestyle
New map reveals Paris flat prices by Metro station
Culture
Paris: Here's how to find French cinema in English
Culture
How to say 'OUCH' in French (and ten other sounds)
National
Get ready: France to be hit by week of transport strikes
Culture
France readies for first national 'motorway party'
National
Is this the eco-solution to France's wild-peeing plague?
Sport
Paris mayor wants Seine to be 'swimmable' before Olympics
National
IN PICTURES: Police car torched in Paris protests
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and more to come
National
Why does 'everyone in France hate the police'?
Culture
Foolproof ways to make French friends in France
National
Seventeen French ex-ministers vow to shine light on sex harassment
Lifestyle
French Riviera mega-mansion faces being bulldozed
Culture
Eight ways the French are different to Parisians
2,740
jobs available