SIMONSEN TO REPLACE KANAAN
Indycar Series drivers have been left in shock following the death of friend and colleague Dan Wheldon in Sunday's Las Vegas Indy 300.
Among them is Tony Kanaan, Wheldon's former teammate, who has withdrawn from this weekend's Armor All Gold Coast 600 in the wake of the 32-year-old's death.
Kanaan had been due to partner Jason Bargwanna for Jana Living Racing but will now be replaced by Allan Simonsen, who most recently drove alongside Greg Murphy to third place in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
The Armor All Gold Coast 600's unique format requires the two endurance races to be completed by the team's regular driver, partnered by an international driver. There will be a test day for the international competitors at Queensland Raceway this Wednesday.
"I read the news about Dan Wheldon on the internet this morning after getting a call from my son. I couldn't believe the accident. I knew that he and Tony were quite close after they drove together at Andretti. His mentor, Steve Horne, called me to say Tony needed time to grieve this morning and I totally understand that. I've lost people close to me and, whether expected or unexpected, it's a terrible thing.
"V8 Supercars is working hard with the teams to find a solution because a lot of teams have found themselves in this situation. It's very, very unfortunate. I was extremely excited about working with Tony Kanaan but I think we've got a great replacement in Allan Simonsen. He did a fantastic job with Murph to finish third at Bathurst and I'm sure his style and personality will fit in perfectly at BJR.
"We're trying to book all the flights now and I'm hoping he will arrive in time to test on Wednesday."
Jana Living Racing Co-Driver
"Any fatal crash is absolutely devastating. I raced European karts against Dan; it's just so sad and a very difficult situation for everyone. There are a lot of people who have been affected by this."