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Rally driver killed and another airlifted to hospital after crash

Picture taken of the car being driven by Timothy Cathcart, a very short time before it crashed, killing him

Picture taken of the car being driven by Timothy Cathcart, a very short time before it crashed, killing him

A young race competitor died and another was critically injured following a major crash at the Ulster Rally.

Timothy Cathcart, 20 and from Fermanagh, was killed during a race stage yesterday afternoon while his co-driver Dai Roberts was hospitalised.

The remainder of the rally has been cancelled.

The accident came the day after French motorcyclist Pierre Favre was severely injured in a crash at the Ulster Grand Prix in Dundrod, Co Antrim.

Last night, Mr Favre remained in a critical but stable condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital’s intensive care unit.

And following yesterday afternoon’s Fermanagh crash, the same unit also received Mr Roberts, who was airlifted in by police helicopter.

His condition was similarly described as critical but stable.

One of those who was nearby at the time of the rally crash was News Letter motor-racing correspondent Ian Lynas.

By chance, he happened to photograph some of Mr Cathcart’s last moments before he lost control of his Citroen DS3.

The crash occurred between Clogher and Fivemiletown.

Mr Lynas said: “There was like an explosion, and the minute I heard it I thought: this is not good – this is a big, big accident.”

Mr Lynas took the picture above just seconds before the vehicle crashed.

He described the stretch where the accident unfolded as being “a typical Northern Irish country road; if you met someone on it, you’d have to pull over onto the verge”.

It was fairly bumpy but straight, and he added that cars could be expected to do roughly 80-100mph along it.

The Northern Ireland Motor Club extended its sympathies to Mr Cathcart’s family and friends, and said it and the race organisers will be co-operating with the police investigation.

After that ends, the Motor Sports Association will carry out its own probe.

Condolences last night arrived from political figures ranging from the DUP and UUP to Sinn Fein Sports Minister Caral ni Chuilin.

For the family of Welsh co-driver Mr Roberts, yesterday’s accident will be a bitter reminder of a fatal crash in Sicily in 2012, which claimed the life of his brother Gareth.

Despite the tragedy, Mr Lynas told the News Letter that the amount of preparation which goes into the race makes the Ulster Rally one of the safest events of its kind in Europe.

 

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