Colin McRae led tributes to co-driver Michael Park, who was killed in a crash on stage 15 of Wales Rally GB.
Mark Higgins (left) used to drive with Park
The Scot called Park one of rallying's "real characters" after learning that Park had died when the Peugeot he shared with Markko Martin hit a tree.
The remaining stages was cancelled and flags flew at half mast as hundreds of fans observed a minute's silence.
"As a driver you carry twice the responsibility - I feel miserable," said English driver Natalie Barratt.
"Everybody knows about the risk but sometimes, in the heat of the moment, one pushes that aside."
Barratt's co-driver Kaj Lindstrom added his tribute to Park.
"It is bad when someone close to you passes on. But it somewhat comforts me that I know that Michael had been very happy in what he was doing."
Ford TeamRS director Jost Capito said: "During his time at Ford, 'Beef', as he was affectionately known to everyone in the sport, became a friend of us all.
"He was the utmost professional, but never lost sight of the fact that despite the intensity and pressures of his job, rallying was fun."
And BP-Ford director Malcolm Wilson said: "Rallying has lost the ultimate professional and ambassador and we have all lost a true friend."