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WRC Monte Carlo: Suspended rally ban for Latvala after spectator strike

Stewards contest Jari-Matti Latvala's version of events when he failed to stop after colliding with a spectator, handing down a suspended ban.
Jari-Matti Latvala and co-driver Miika Anttila have been given a suspended one rally ban and a fine of 5,000 EUR for failing to stop in the wake of hitting a spectator on SS11.

The Finn was running in a comfortable third position when he ran wide at a right-hand turn during SS11, dropping the Polo's left-rear into a water gully, which then dragged the left-side of the car into the ditch too.

With the Polo hitting a mound of earth, enough to damage the suspension, the impact forced the car into the adjacent field, where Latvala struck a spectator who was retrieving his camera from the ground to prevent it from being run over.

Latvala proceeded to carry on until the end of the stage, before retiring due to the damage sustained in the crash, but insisted afterwards he was not aware he had hit anything due to his visibility being obscured by mud and steam.

It was an argument that was stewards weren't convinced by, saying on-board footage suggested Latvala should have seen the incident occur, but accepted in that moment it was plausible he didn't consider it to have happened.

"The stewards stated that, looking at the images, it would be hard to believe that the driver and/or co-driver had not realised that they had hit a spectator as the body could be seen quite prominently on the bonnet and right in front of the windscreen.

"At that moment the visibility through the windscreen on the driver's side was not so bad and the body could clearly be seen clearly."

"It is not plausible for the stewards that the crew did not even consider the possibility that they had hit a spectator. As can be seen from the video footage, there were many people standing closely in a large row on the left side of the special stage where the crew went off.

"Also, when the car was on its way to re-join the stage, people were running away to the left and to the right. In such a situation, it would have been the obligation of the crew to stop at the venue of the incident and check if a spectator was affected."

As a result, Latvala was handed a one rally ban, though this is suspended for the remainder of the 2016 WWRC season, with the ban only coming into effect if Latvala commits a similar offence. In addition, Latvala and Anttila were given a 5,000 EUR fine.



Related Pictures

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Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
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Benji

January 24, 2016 9:20 PM

What's the point of stopping ? Or is it a case of there should be a moral obligation to stop rubbish ? Are they first aiders ? ....No ! Could they have done anything ? ....No ! More to the point why were spectators allowed to be on the outside of the corner ? Asking for trouble if you ask me.

HRC

January 25, 2016 10:49 AM

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