British mum Emma Wilkinson killed in crash in Siberia during Peking to Paris vintage car rally

31-year-old man and baby in another vehicle also killed

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The Independent Online

A British mother-of-two has been killed in a car crash in Siberia while taking part in a vintage car rally.

Emma Wilkinson, 46, died when her 1970 Chevrolet C10 collided with a Volkswagen Polo, according to police. She had been taking part in the  Peking to Paris Motor challenge, described as the longest and toughest challenge of its kind.

Her partner and fellow participant, Peter Davies, escaped uninjured when the incident occurred on the Tyumen to Omsk federal highway yesterday, but a 31-year-old man and a baby in the other vehicle were killed. Another woman is in intensive care, according to police.

Officers believe the driver of the Polo may have fallen asleep at the wheel moments before careering across the road into the path of the oncoming Chevrolet as there were no skid marks and traffic was very light.

Rally director Philip Young said: "Emma was a fun loving, lively and popular member of the rally.

"In the three weeks we've been together both she and Peter proved themselves to be capable, competent and resourceful.

"Their 1970 Chevrolet C10 pickup was a remarkable sight in the Mongolian wilderness and today our thoughts and sympathies are with Emma's family and friends including her two brothers Robert and Mark who are also participating."

The 33-day race, which began on May 28 sees competitors travel through some of the most remote and inaccessible areas on the planet as they drive through the Gobi Desert, Mongolia and Russia.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the death of a British national in Russia on 12 June.

"We stand ready to provide consular assistance to the family at this difficult time."

Friends and former colleagues paid tribute to the "beautiful, funny, kind, amazing" mother of two.

Debbie Baker wrote on Facebook: "Dear Emma. I never laughed so much with anyone as I did with you. Whether at Virgin, on our holidays or at parties.

"Such a beautiful, funny and talented lady. I will never forget you."

Another friend, Susan Rodgers, described Ms Wilkinson as: "The loveliest and hilarious girl I ever had the pleasure of knowing.

"Just awful news... still in shock."

One, under the name Maud Maudlin, said: "We hadn't finished laughing with you Emma and were looking forward to your new stories from this amazing trip.

"Simply taken too soon - You are the light that will always shine in the hearts of us you touched and will never, ever be forgotten."