Just 24 hours after former rally world champion Colin McRae was killed, Prodrive chief David Richards survived a helicopter crash when returning from the Belgian grand prix. Richards, McRae's former boss at Suburu, was returning to Essex (UK) from Spa-Francorchamps with his wife when the helicopter he was piloting suffered a fault.

They crash-landed in a field and the aircraft turned onto its side, but police confirmed that Richards - to take his Banbury-based outfit into formula one next year - and his wife Karen "walked out of the wreckage".

They were treated for shock but unhurt, according to BBC reports.

"David and Colin were great friends and it's an amazing coincidence that this has happened," a Prodrive spokesman said.

"We are just thankful he and Karen are OK."

It is suggested that Richards was returning home from Spa earlier than planned because of how he felt about McRae's death. (GMM)