One of the aspects of rally that sets it apart from other forms of motorsport is the inherent danger not only for teams, but for spectators, as it is the only type of racing where fans can truly get close to the action. Sometimes too close!
On the 11th stage of the Rally Monte Carlo, Volkswagen Motorsport driver Jari-Matti Latvala ran wide on a turn, his Polo R dipping into a ditch and then being tossed across the ditch towards spectators. Steam pouring from the damaged cooling system, Latvala put the car in gear and attempted to get back on the road. In the process, he slowly drove into a photographer, who landed on the VW’s hood before flopping off the side.
Following the incident, Volkswagen Motorsport issued a statement in which Latvala apologized for the incident, saying,”I would first like to stress that I am very sorry about what happened today,” “We came off the very slippery road after a right turn, skidded into a ditch and came out in a field”.
”My visibility was hampered briefly by thick steam from the engine and mud that had sprayed up from the ditch. I saw a spectator jump to the side and drove slowly back to the road.
”The team contacted me after the stage and informed me that I had touched a spectator.”
WRC officials dispute Latvala’s claim that he didn’t know that he had hit the guy and have fined the driver and his co-driver Mikka Anttila , €5000 for failing to stick around to make sure nobody was hurt. Additionally, Latvala has been handed a suspended ban for one event, which means that if he has another similar incident in 2016, he will have to sit out one rally.
Nows source: Motorsport.com