Co-driver Roberts killed
Gareth Roberst (AFP Photo)
Rome - Gareth Roberts, a co-driver taking part in the Targo Florio rally, was killed on Saturday when his car crashed on a bend.
The 24-year-old Welshman was competing in this fifth leg of the International Rally Challenge with Irish team-mate Craig Breen.
Italian news agency ANSA reported that their Peugeot 207 crashed into a security barrier, hitting Roberts in the passenger seat and emergency services were unable to save him.
Breen escaped unscathed, while no spectators were involved.
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."
IRC director general Jean-Pierre Nicolas added: "The death of a 24-year-old man at the start of a fantastic career is always a tragedy."
Roberts and Breen won last year's World Rally Championship Academy event together, and had come into the Targo Florio rally in sixth place in the IRC standings.
After a recent rally in Corsica, Breen said of Roberts: "Gareth is a magician, he's incredible how he gets every note out so quickly. I couldn't do it without him."
This is the first year in which the Targo Florio rally has appeared on the IRC calendar, after it was introduced at the last minute to replace the Rally of Hungary.
Another Welsh co-driver, Michael Park, was killed during the 2005 Rally of Great Britain when he was involved in a crash in a Peugeot 307 driven by Estonia's Markko Martin.