Thousands of motor-sports fans watched in horror after an amateur racing driver died in a fatal crash during a historic touring car race.
Christian Devereux, 51, died when his classic Mini Cooper ploughed into a Ford Mustang which had spun off the track during the race at the famous Donington Park circuit on Sunday afternoon.
The race was immediately stopped when marshals realised the seriousness of the incident and two air ambulances attended the scene at around 4.30pm.
Despite the best efforts paramedics Mr Devereux – a company director – died at the scene from catastrophic injuries.
Yesterday (Mon) police and circuit officials were working together to determine the cause of the horror crash – which happened on a bend known as ‘Coppice Corner’.
One race-goer, who witnessed the crash, said: “It looked pretty innocuous at first – no worse than the type of collisions you see at the course on any given week.
“You knew it was serious when the race was cancelled and the red flags were raised.
“It’s absolutely tragic though and it’s heartbreaking to think you’ve witnessed a man lose his life in this way.”
After the accident race fans took to internet forums to pay their respects tp Mr Deveraux – who had been due to take part in the Pau Historique racing festival in France next weekend.
Terence Bower wrote: “Devastating news, Christian was one of the nicest people you could wish to meet,sincerest condolences to his family.
“Thoughts also with the people who dealt with the incident,whom I’m sure did everything possible.”
Fellow racing driver Roger Wills said: “I was in the race and saw the aftermath. What a tragic and horrific end to a great weekend racing. Christian was a great guy. My thoughts are with his family and friends. Just awful. RIP.”
While pal Mike Bell added: “He was a family man. Always ready for a chat at circuits and enthusiastic to the core.
“Pau will seem ‘wrong’ next weekend knowing that Christian was due to race there, but hopefully we can remember him appropriately and still get on with the racing.”
Twitter user @josafiend, who was at the circuit, wrote on her blog: “I watched a driver die today.
“He crashed heavily towards the end of the race, losing control, I believe, on oil which was on the track following a previous class competition.
“No matter what level they drive at, any loss is huge to the community.
“Thoughts are with his family and friends right now.”
A spokesman for Donington Park said: “It is with great regret that the directors of Donington Park Racing Ltd, operators of Donington Park Circuit, have to report that, following an accident in a race for historic touring cars held as part of the race meeting taking place on Sunday, May 5, the driver of car number 67 – a 1965 Mini Cooper S) – Christian Devereux, succumbed to the injuries sustained at approximately 16.30 hours.
“The organising race club, HSCC and Donington Park Racing Ltd, together with the circuit’s medical and emergency services, will now be co-operating with Leicestershire Police and motorsport’s governing body, the Motor Sports Association, in order to determine the cause of this tragic accident.”
The race was part of Donington’s Historic Festival, which has been running all weekend, and attracted thousands of visitors from around the UK.
Leicestershire police yesterday said it was not in a position to release any further details.
A spokesman said: “We are aware of the incident but will not be releasing any further information at this time.”
Mr Deveraux, from Chiswick, London, founded a motorbike hire company in 1994 called Hexagon Motorcycles.
Nobody was available for comment from the firm yesterday.