Jari-Matti Latvala gets suspended WRC ban after hitting spectator

Jari-Matti Latvala has been given a suspended one-round ban from the World Rally Championship after hitting a spectator as he rejoined from an incident on the Monte Carlo Rally

Jari-Matti Latvala gets suspended WRC ban after hitting spectator

Video footage showed Latvala's Volkswagen knocking a fan to the ground as it went through a field on the way back onto the course on SS11 following an error.

VW said it believed the spectator was uninjured in the incident.

The Polo had travelled through a ditch and Latvala said mud and water was obscuring his view at the time.

A stewards' statement said Latvala had argued: "It was only when the visibility came back that he saw some people jumping to the side and at the same time he saw the possibility where he could get back onto the road. He added that he never thought [of] having hit someone."

But the officials said on-board camera footage suggested Latvala would have seen the impact.

"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."

According to the stewards' report, Latvala contended his head would have been moving up and down as the car bounced over the grass at the time and he would not have had a clear view.

But the officials concluded: "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 rejoin 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."

There was also a discrepancy between WRC television reporter Julian Porter and Latvala's accounts of a conversation about the incident as the Finn tried to fix his car after the stage.

In a submission to the stewards, Porter said Latvala had said to him "when we went off we hit a spectator, we did not hit him hard but can you please check he is OK".

Latvala said his request to Porter was "can you go and confirm with the marshals that I haven't hit anybody".

The stewards fined Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila €5000 and imposed a one-rally ban on Latvala, suspended for the rest of the 2016 WRC season.

shares
comments
WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Latvala apologises for hitting spectator

Previous article

WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Latvala apologises for hitting spectator

Next article

WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Sebastien Ogier wins 2016 season opener

WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Sebastien Ogier wins 2016 season opener
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium Plus

How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Plus

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Plus

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021