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Motor Racing

Danish driver Allan Simonsen killed at start of Le Mans 24 hours race

Simonsen crashed heavily in his Aston Martin V8 Vantage

A Danish racing driver has died after a crash during the opening minutes of the Le Mans 24 Hours race.

Allan Simonsen was contesting the GTE Am category in an Aston Martin when he crashed heavily at the Tertre Rouge less than 10 minutes in, race organisers Automobile Club de l'Ouest have confirmed.

The 34-year-old was immediately seen to by the race's medical team, but died later as a result of his injuries.

A statement from the organisers read: "In a serious condition, Allan Simonsen was transferred immediately to the Circuit Medical Centre where he died soon after due to his injuries," adding that David Richards, the principal of the Aston Martin Racing team, immediately broke the news to the driver's family.

It continued: "The Automobile Club de l'Ouest wishes to express its great sadness following this incident, and extends its deepest condolences to the family and those close to Allan Simonsen.

"The Automobile Club de l'Ouest will make no further statement while the exact reasons for the accident are still being wholly determined."

An experienced Le Mans campaigner racing for the seventh time at La Sarthe, Simonsen was the Danish Formula Ford champion in 1999 and went on to race in Formula Palmer Audi and the British Formula Renault Championship before carving out a career in sports cars.

He won the 2007 Australian GT Championship and took class honours in the 2009 Asian Le Mans Series.

A second-placed finish in the GT2 class in 2010 marked Simonsen's best result at Le Mans, while in 2008 he stepped up to contest the prototype LMP2 class at the famous endurance race.