The Le Mans 2013 race finished on a down note as the win for Audi’s Tom Kristensen was overshadowed by the death of fellow driver Allan Simonsen.
The Danish driver died after crashing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance racing event. His Aston Martin No. 95 skidded and spun before hitting a barrier at the Tertre Rouge corner.
He was rushed to the hospital, but the 34-year-old Simonsen later died from the injuries he suffered.
“Tragically, and despite the best efforts of the emergency services in attendance, Allan’s injuries proved fatal,” Aston Martin Racing said in a statement on its website.
The team chairman David Richards said the race was a difficult experience, though one of its racers did finish in third place.
“The team continued its participation in the race which was obviously very emotional and difficult for everyone,” he told the official Aston Martin website, adding, “I’d like to thank everyone who has shown us such support over the weekend and sent the messages of condolence to Allan’s family.”
The race was delayed for an hour while the guard rail was replaced. It was an unusual and tragic crash for Allan Simonsen, who was competing in the marathon race for a seventh time and came in as a favorite to win the Le Mans 2013. It was also first fatal crash since 1997, when a driver died in a qualifying race. No driver had been killed in the race itself since 1986.
The worst crash at Le Mans took place in 1955 when Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes flew into the crowd and killed more than 80 spectators.
The Le Mans 2013 was won by Audi’s Tom Kristensen, who dedicated the win to fellow Dane Simonsen. Kristensen had planned to dedicate his win to his father, who died earlier this year, but said he wanted to pay tribute to Allan Simonsen instead.
“He can wait for the next victory of mine,” he said. “This victory today I dedicate to Allan Simonsen, a great fellow Dane.”
The Le Mans 2013 victory ceremony included a brief tribute to Simonsen.