Ford's Petter Solberg has been reprimanded by the stewards following the incident in the opening test this morning in France. His co-driver, Chris Patterson has also been given a warning.
The stewards explained that the decision to reprimand the crew of car #4 had been taken 'for not slowing down when they had no visibility' and 'for not immediately checking the status of spectators and marshals before continuing, both actions being dangerous to those around them'.
Solberg later told reporters that a technical failure was not responsible for the off [see separate story - HERE
], even if early speculation, based on video footage of the incident
, did seem to indicate he might have had brake problems or a stuck throttle.
The full statement from the stewards, issued today at 15.00 hours local time, read:
From: The stewards of the meeting.
To: The entrant of car No. 4: Ford WRT / Crew: PETTER SOLBERG / CHRIS PATTERSON.
Having viewed the available TV footage and on-board camera evidence in relation to the incident of car No. 4 that went off the road in SS9, the Stewards were concerned at a possible lack of safety awareness of the crew of car No. 4.
The Stewards then summoned the crew of car No. 4, driver Petter Solberg and co-driver Chris Patterson, who explained that once they became aware of the circumstances of their accident they did their best to cooperate with the marshals and the police.
Having considered and understood the crew's attitude when trying to re-enter the stage after going off the road, the Stewards after due deliberation
To impose a reprimand on the crew of car No. 4 for not slowing down when they had no visibility and for not immediately checking the status of spectators and marshals before continuing, both actions being dangerous to those around them.
Bo Swaner, Chairman
Aman Barfull, Steward
Guy Mourot, Steward
Stewards of the meeting