FIA and Peugeot in Safety Project

The FIA and Peugeot were already finalising a joint project to improve side-impact protection on WRC cars before the fatal accident that killed co-driver Michael Park on yesterday's Rally GB

FIA and Peugeot in Safety Project

With motorsport's governing body due to receive crash data today to start their own investigation into the accident, an FIA spokesperson has confirmed that plans were already underway to examine ways of increasing driver and co-driver protection.

Park, 39, was killed when his driver Markko Martin left the road yesterday and collided with a tree. It was the first fatality in the WRC in 12 years.

With the crash re-opening the debate into whether side-impact protection can be improved on WRC cars, sources have revealed that Peugeot bosses met with the FIA on the eve of last weekend's Welsh event to discuss their joint project into the matter.

It is understood that Peugeot will be supplying cars to the FIA Institute for laboratory crash testing.

An FIA Institute spokesperson said: "The FIA Institute has been developing a research programme on side impact protection for Rally cars. The project is being conducted in collaboration with Peugeot.

"Crash test simulations of side impacts are about to start at European test labs and the current Euro NCAP pole test is being used as the starting point for the development of a crash test protocol which meets the higher demands of motor sport and for specific application in rallying."

Only last month, ex-F1 medical delegate Professor Sid Watkins visited the Rally Finland and was concerned about the level of side-impact protection.

He told Autosport: "We are now looking more into the forces involved in the sport and their effects on the pilot and co-driver driver inside the car.

"Another very serious problem is the potential for intrusion from the side, which is one of the main areas we are looking at."

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