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Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 12:33 UK

Tributes paid to Scottish racer

David Leslie
Leslie won nine BTCC races in a career spanning 13 years

The world of motorsport has paid tribute to former Touring Car driver David Leslie who was among five people killed in a private jet crash in Kent.

Fellow former Touring Car racer and boss of Apex Motorsport Richard Lloyd, was also among those who died.

Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart said 52-year-old Leslie's death was "a great loss to Scottish motorsport".

"Scotland has been sorely hit over the last 12 months with the deaths of Colin McRae and now David Leslie Jr."

Leslie and Lloyd's plane crashed into a house in Farnborough and, although nobody on the ground was injured, all five people on board the aircraft lost their lives.

In a 13-year BTCC career, Leslie raced for BMW, Vauxhall, Mazda, Honda, Nissan and Proton and won nine races, finishing second in the championship in 1999 before retiring in 2003.

They were both lovely, gentle people and the entire motor sport community will be shocked and saddened by this tragic news.

Colin Hilton, chief executive of the Motor Sports Association

Stewart added: "David was a highly skilled and talented racing driver who was also an excellent engineer and technical expert within the sport.

"A proud Scot who represented our country internationally in a dignified and stylish fashion."

Former Formula One driver David Brabham, who raced with Leslie, described him as a "great guy".

"He was a very good driver and a distinguished gentleman," he said.

"It is the saddest news, both for his family and for the racing community."

Damon Hill OBE, President of the British Racing Drivers' Club, said: "On behalf of all BRDC Members, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of David and Richard at this very sad time.

"Both men were much loved Members of our Club."

Colin Hilton, chief executive of the Motor Sports Association - the governing body of UK motor sport - paid his tributes to both Leslie and 63-year-old Lloyd.

He said: "David Leslie was a hugely popular figure in almost every formula of motor racing in Britain.

"He was always keen to use his experience to help younger drivers coming through the sport.

"Just this week, he had been involved in selecting the most promising young talent in the UK to join the MSA's British Race Elite scheme.

"Richard Lloyd was equally well-regarded throughout the sport. Having been a successful driver, it was as a team manager and owner that Richard really made his name, working with some of the best drivers in the world and winning numerous titles.

606: DEBATE

"They were both lovely, gentle people and the entire motor sport community will be shocked and saddened by this tragic news. Our thoughts and prayers are with the five families at this time."

Bernard Buss, of the Scottish Motor Racing Club, of which Mr Leslie was an honorary member, said he had been a highly influential figure.

"He will be greatly missed by all the people involved in motor racing in Scotland," he said.

"He was just one of the greatest lads and he helped so many of the young drivers today, such as David Coulthard."

BTCC series director Alan Gow said in a statement: "It was my privilege to know both David and Richard.

"David of course was a great competitor within the BTCC for many years - always exciting to watch, fiercely competitive and incredibly passionate about his sport.

"Richard I never knew as a driver, but as the team owner of Audi Sport UK - and he was a thoroughly likeable person, of real integrity and determination.

"The BTCC is a close-knit community and we mourn the tragic loss of both David and Richard. However our sense of loss is nothing compared to those of their families and our thoughts go out to them at this terrible time."


see also
Five killed in Kent plane crash
30 Mar 08 |  UK News
Harvey pays tribute to crash dead
31 Mar 08 |  Motorsport
McRae and son among crash victims
16 Sep 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West


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