World Rally Championship to discuss SOS system after crash row

World Rally Championship drivers will meet with FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen to clarify the situation over the cars' onboard 'SOS' button following the Lorenzo Bertelli controversy in Portugal

World Rally Championship to discuss SOS system after crash row

There had been mounting concern from the drivers in the series following comments made by WRC Commission president Carlos Barbosa surrounding an incident on last month's Rally of Portugal, where Bertelli's call for help after an accident went unanswered.

Barbosa insinuated that Bertelli had misused the system, telling AUTOSPORT: "He wanted us to stop the stage so his mother could fly in in the helicopter and pick him up so he didn't have to wait.

"That might be how it works in Italy, but that's not how we do things here in Portugal."

WRC champion Sebastien Ogier felt Barbosa's comments had overstepped the mark.

"Normally the rules are simple, you push the button and the stage is stopped and medical services are sent straight away, as soon as possible," he said.

"I'm not sure all of the details of this story, so I can't say if it was right or wrong, but I can judge the comments of Barbosa and for sure they were too much."

The drivers and co-drivers will meet with Mahonen later this month, before the start of Rally Poland, to discuss the situation.

Mahonen was unwilling to criticise Barbosa and the Portugese organisers, but said: "We don't know all of the circumstances around this case and in the end it turns out that they were right [Bertelli wasn't badly hurt].

"But what we are going to tell the organisers when we meet them is that they will go to the accident straight away when the button is pushed.

"It is very clear. If they push the button then the rescue operation starts. It has to be always like this.

"If there is any misuse of this procedure then we will penalise this, and it will be quite an expensive exercise if you do this on purpose and mislead the rally organisers."

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