FIA to investigate further the zero safety car incident in SS9 as Neuville waits for an explanation for it

FIA will investigate further the incident between the zero safety car and Thierry Neuville in Stage 9 of Rally Japan as it was very dangerous for the Belgian crew.

Rally TV covers all the stages and provides a clear view to the spectators of what is happening in each stage of a rally which means that it records everything. One very dangerous moment was when Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe started in Stage 9 of Rally Japan and suddenly they saw the zero safety car on the side of the road. The Hyundai crew did not have any information about it and it is very fortunate that there was no clash between them considering how fast are the Rally1 cars. As a consequence of that, FIA is planning to have a look at this incident as the things would be very different if the zero safety car moved in the opposite direction with car No. 11. Afterwards, the organizers decided to red flag the stage for four drivers (Neuville, Takamoto Katsuta, Ott Tanak and Esapekka Lappi) and gave to them notional times while SS9 restarted after 20 minutes.

"On SS9 of Rally Japan on Saturday morning, the event zero car came across spectators stood in a dangerous location on the stage and stopped to ask them to move", FIA's statement said.

"Rally control was informed that the zero car had moved to a safe location and the stage was authorised to commence competition.

"When the crew of car no. 11 was 8.6km into the stage, they approached the zero car which was still on the stage. 

"Standard safety protocols were then activated and the stage was immediately red flagged for those cars already on stage.

"After a delay of 22 minutes and following a review of safety measures, the stage was restarted.

"A further investigation of this issue has been opened. 

"The organisers and the FIA are working to check that established safety protocols are respected and will continue to monitor each stage".

Finally, Thierry Neuville said: "It wasn’t the first time I catch a Toyota, but this time it wasn’t the right one. 

"I was a bit confused, I thought I was still dreaming and I’m still catching Toyotas in front of me!

"It took me a second to make me understand that we catch the zero car.

"We were lucky I got to stop like one meter behind the car so it was quite close, but nothing happened. 

"I will get an explanation from the FIA later, but it is what it is.

"He wasn’t coming opposite so that’s already a good point, but for sure it shouldn’t happen. 

"I don’t know what is the reason but there is definitely an explanation for it".


Photo Credits: Hyundai

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