Freddy Rousselle dies

Freddy Rousselle, the second member of the Le Mans 24-Hours Drivers Hall of Fame, the oldest Belgian to have taken part in the event, passed away on Friday 25th March aged 89. The Automobile Club de l'Ouest would like to offer its sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Freddy Rousselle was born on 15th May 1927 and began his career on motorbikes racing both on circuits and in off-road events. He forged his reputation as a driver on the international scene in the 1950s.

Between 1956 and 1958 he raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours three times at the wheel of a car entered by the prestigious Ecurie Nationale Belge scoring two fourth places: first of all with Jacques Swaters and then with Paul Frere at the wheel of Jaguar D-Types. His third outing in 1958 ended in retirement due to engine failure.

Rousselle had a particular affection for the Sarthe classic and came back to Le Mans on four occasions: in 1973 for the 50th anniversary of the event, in 2007 for the jubilee of his fourth place, in 2013 for the 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and in 2015 to transmit his passion to his grandson.

On Friday 3rd May 2013 at the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours, Rousselle was the second driver after Englishman Eric Thompson to be inducted into the Le Mans 24-Hours Drivers Hall of Fame by Pierre Fillon, the ACO President. In collaboration with the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium and the International Le Mans 24-Hours Drivers' Club and surrounded by several Belgian drivers and guests he donned the prestigious blazer, which is the distinguishing mark of this elite, helped by Bertrand Baguette, the youngest Belgian driver in the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de L'Ouest: "This weekend we were very saddened to hear of the death of Belgian driver, Freddy Rousselle, who left his mark on motor sport in his own country and on the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours. He was very moved when he was inducted into the Le Mans 24-Hours Drivers Hall of Fame in 2013, and delighted the crowd with his memories of the Le Mans 24 Hours, in particular with the anecdote about his first outing in the race in 1956. Initially, he was entered as reserve driver and he took part in the race when one of the regulars threw in the towel twenty minutes before the start! He had never driven the powerful Jaguar D-Type before on the Le Mans circuit. The Automobile Club de l'Ouest was honored in 2013 when he accepted to become one of the ambassadors of the Le Mans 24 Hours. In the name of the ACO and all its collaborators I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to Freddy Rousselle's family and friends."

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