Gareth Roberts' fatal crash on the Targa Florio on Saturday saw his and Craig Breen's car penetrated by a guardrail, rally organizers have confirmed.
Roberts lost his life in the accident on stage eight of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge round this morning, when the HRT Peugeot he was co-driving for World Rally Championship Academy champion Breen went off the road. Reports suggested that the crash was similar to the accident that severely injured Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica on an Italian national rally in February 2011, and this has now been confirmed by event officials.
A spokesman for the event said: "The accident occurred just in front of a safety post. A marshal saw the car go off the road and hit a safety rail, which unfortunately penetrated the cockpit.
"The ambulance was called immediately. It reached the accident scene from its post, which was before where the accident happened. Some of the other crews on the road stopped and assisted in putting out a small fire on the car. Unfortunately, all the assistance provided to Gareth was of no use and he passed away at the scene of the accident.
"It is very, very sad that a 24-year-old co-driver has come to race here and lost his life."
The Targa Florio, which was due to finish on Saturday afternoon, was abandoned in the wake of the accident.