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Last Updated: Friday, 4 May 2007, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Britons quizzed on Gumball death
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha (L) chats with German driver Stephan Ohneck
The rally attracts a large amount of interest across Europe
Two British men have been questioned by police in Macedonia over a fatal crash during an international car rally.

Nicholas Morley and Matthew McConville, from Gtr Manchester, were in a Porsche as part of the Gumball 3000 when they were in a collision with another car.

Vladimir Cepulyoski, 67, died from a heart attack after the crash on 2 May.

The Foreign office said Mr Morley had been released on bail, though his co-driver was never formally detained. The rally has been called off.

The Gumball 3000 - which costs 28,000 to enter - involves more than 100 cars driving 3,000 miles from London to Athens and back on public roads.

Mr Morley, 30, from Bowdon, Greater Manchester, and Mr McConville, 36, from Prestwich, Greater Manchester, were travelling on a road towards Kafasan - on the border with Albania - when the collision happened.

Mr Cepulyoski, from Macedonia, who was in the other car involved in the collision, was not taking part in the rally.

Gumball rally entrants
We are always very, very focused on safety
Michael Ross, former winner

The Gumball rally has been a draw for the rich and famous for almost a decade, with entrants enjoying the thrill of their high-powered sports cars by day and lavish parties by night.

But despite its playboy tag, former winner Michael Ross, an entrepreneur from London, said safety remained a top priority.

He said: "It is not a put your foot to the floor, go as fast as you can event. You are going through countries where roads and signage are unbelievably difficult to follow. It is challenging.

"Some people choose to drive fast, some choose to enjoy the scenery.

"Organisers of Gumball have tried to exclude people they feel are irresponsible which is the proper way of dealing with it. They have taken that seriously over the years.

"We are always very, very focused on safety."

'Deepest sympathies'

Founder Maximillion Cooper revealed in a statement that the rally was ending in Bratislava on Thursday night.

"As the organisers of the rally we feel that it should be stopped as a mark of respect to Vladimir Cepulyoski who died today after an accident involving one of the participating drivers," it read.

"On behalf of Gumball 3000, we once again extend our deepest sympathies to his family and we are doing everything we can for them.

"This is the first time anything like this has happened in nine years of travelling through over 40 countries with thousands of drivers."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that two Britons have been involved in a road traffic accident.

"We have been in contact and are providing appropriate assistance."




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