Italian rally car driver, Michele Bortignon passed away mid-race while on the rally track last Saturday.
The 51-year-old driver had been competing for Team Bassano in the 17th Campagnole Historic ACI Vicenza Rally with his 21-year-old daughter as his co-pilot.
It is reported that he fell ill during the rally and according to Italian news outlet ANSAen Bortignon suffered a heart attack.
In what sadly turned out to be his last moments, the rally car driver and father, was able to steer the Ford Escort RS to the roadside, saving his daughter Allessia’s life.
The onsite medical team attempted to resuscitate Bortignon but was unsuccessful in reviving him.
As onlookers and race organizers watched in shock, the race was swiftly called off.
In a statement the President of ACI Vicenza, Luigi Battistolli expressed his grief and shock, saying
I can’t find the words to express what I feel, both as a president of ACI Vicenza and as a sportsman since I was also in the race.”
ACI Vincenza broke the tragic news on its Facebook page:
“We express our deepest condolences to the family we are close to in this moment of deep sorrow. In the face of tragedies like this, sport inevitably takes second place, and we can only mourn the disappearance of our man, father, and husband,” the club said.
Hundreds of friends and fans took to social media to offer their condolences to the family in remembrance of his ‘great human and professional qualities,’ with one shocked fan Luciana Ciana Gelmini writing, “I have no words. RIP.”