Francois Duval's co-driver Patrick Pivato is in a 'stable' but 'critical condition' following surgery on Friday night, the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team has confirmed.

Pivato suffered a fractured pelvis and fractured tibia on day one of the Rally Japan when he and Duval crashed out 4.8 kilometres into SS6 - the 11.10 kilometre-run through Yuparo 2.

Once he was freed from the wreckage, Pivato was airlifted to Higashi Tokushukai hospital in Sapporo, however, during surgery, some internal bleeding was discovered and the Frenchman was placed into intensive care. Since then he has made 'steady improvement', although he remains 'critical'.

The full statement from the Stobart squad read:

"Last night Patrick Pivato, co-driver to Fran?ois Duval, underwent surgery to repair a fractured right pelvis and tibia after a high speed accident on stage 6 of Rally Japan yesterday.

"During the operation some internal bleeding was discovered and the Frenchman was swiftly re-operated on by surgeons at Higashi Tokushukai hospital and placed in intensive care.

"The operation to halt the internal bleeding concluded at 01:00 this morning and since then Pivato has made steady improvements over the course of the morning however still remains in a stable but critical condition. Progress reports on Pivato will be issued when available.

"No further comment will be made by the team at this time."

More to follow as and when it is available...

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