Along with his driver Craig Breen, Gareth (pictured right) was embarking on his first major campaign in the IRC. Following points-scoring finishes on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally in April and Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse last month, their programme with Saintéloc Racing would have included the upcoming Geko Ypres Rally and Sibiu Rally Romania.
Their participation on Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia with HRT Motorsport was added to their schedule to provide an additional opportunity to demonstrate their considerable talents in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000.
After seven stages in Sicily they were in sixth position overall having set a succession of impressive stage times on an event they were competing on for the first time.
Gareth, who was 24 and from Wales, trained as an electrician. He began competing in 2004 and achieved considerable success in the one-make Fiesta SportTrophy series. He formed his formidable partnership with Breen for the start of the 2009 season, which included the pair winning the inaugural FIA WRC Academy Cup in 2011.
Following their performance in Corsica, where an onboard camera captured Gareth’s expert pacenote-reading skills live on Eurosport, Breen said: “Gareth is a magician, he’s incredible how he gets every note out so quickly. I couldn’t do it without him.”
IRC Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas said: “It’s a very sad accident that reminds us that motorsport is dangerous: accidents can affect both driver and co-driver in rallying. As the President of the Automobile Club Palermo, Antonio Marasco, said after the accident, the Targa Florio is an event where many great champions have left us in the past, and sadly this has happened again. The death of a 24-year-old young man at the start of a fantastic career is always a tragedy. From the start of this year, together with Craig Breen, Gareth has put in some excellent performances and the crew really got themselves noticed. There’s no doubt in my mind that these performances would have got even better. At this terrible time, I’m thinking very much of Gareth’s family, to whom all of us at Eurosport Events pass on our sincere condolences.”