Danish driver Allan Simonsen dies following car crash at Le Mans race

Updated: Jun 23, 2013, 11:42 AM IST

London: A Danish endurance racer had reportedly died during the 81st 24 Hours of Le Mans racing tournament in La Sarthe, France, after losing control of his Aston Martin.

Leading GT driver, Allan Simonsen had qualified on pole in his class, the GTE Am category of race-prepared road cars, and was a favourite to finish strongly in the race, when his car came off at high speed at a corner after nine minutes of racing and on the fourth lap.

Stating that the investigation was focusing on the possibility that the accident occurred `due to circumstances in the race`, a statement issued by the race organizers said that Simonsen`s body has been returned to his family.

The statement added that the Aston Martin Racing team has decided to continue with the participation of its other cars, at the request of the family, and in tribute to the deceased driver.

Simonsen was approaching a fast corner before the car shifted sharply to the left, leaving the track and hitting the barriers, adding that the race was immediately yellow-flagged and safety cars deployed as marshalls dealt with the incident.

Simonsen is the first race fatality since the Austrian Jo Gartner in 1986, although the Frenchman Sebastien Enjolras lost his life during pre-qualifying in 1997.

Simonsen had taken part in seven Le Mans 24 Hour races, with a best finish of second in class in 2010. Racing since 1999, he won the Danish Formula Ford Championship, the Australian GT championship and the Asian Le Mans Series.