Take a long, hard look at this video, FIA…
…and then let me know if you find anything interesting in it. (scroll down for video) Personally, I started counting cars that were sliding off the road in same exact spot that caught Jari-Matti Latvala out. Then I stopped because the numbers became too big. I was totally relieved when I noticed the area in the outside of this corner was cleared of spectators after first car went off. Well, almost cleared, because I think at least 50 to 100 people stayed there, but they were safe, weren’t they, protected by the impenetrable ditch. So they brought out chairs, merely 10 or so meters away from the road, on the exit of a fast corner.
Did you also notice those cheerful individuals, stepping in front of the cars in snowy section – the same section that gained global fame thanks to amazing photographs, showing all that is so good about this event. Yet, idiots, I mean, individuals with obvious cognitive deficiencies, roamed free, fully prepared to destroy the fun for everyone. I also did not fail to spot FIA’s engineers, working hard in securing that electricity pole, knocked down by one of the cars. To you those people may look like spectators, supporting a pole, Iwo Jima style, but to me those are qualified FIA engineers, called in to provide a quick and reliable fix for this otherwise completely harmless issue.
How about we just laugh it all off, like we did so many times before? Sweep it under the rug and move on. Do not speak of it, because It Hurts The Sport™. But no, I have an even better idea! How about we start punishing drivers instead? Like for example, Latvala. He failed to stop to check if that idiot spectator was hurt, and by that he managed to break some of the rules, laid out in FIA WRC Sporting Regulations. Namely, and per Rally Monte Carlo stewards decision, articles 40.4 “in conjunction with Article 40.3” as well as Article 12.1.1c.
40.4 INCIDENT ON A SPECIAL STAGE INVOLVING A PERSON WHO IS NOT A CREW MEMBER
If a crew is involved in an accident in which a member of the public sustains physical injury, the car must stop immediately and the procedure as laid down in Art. 40.3.1 must be followed.
How does this article even work? How is crew supposed to judge whether “a person who is not a crew member” sustained an injury or not? This thing says they should stop if person is injured, but it does not say they should stop AND check (check? How do they check? Are WRC crews trained and equipped for the job of determining if someone was injured or not?)? “Dude, r u hurt? No? Ok thx bai!”?
But wait, there’s more.
40.3.1 In the case of an accident where urgent medical attention is required, the following applies:
The SOS switch on the emergency console must be activated immediately.
When possible, the red “SOS” sign should immediately be displayed to the following cars and to any helicopter attempting to assist.
The red triangle must be placed in a conspicuous position by a member of the crew at least 50 metres before the car’s position, in order to warn following drivers, even if the car is off the road.
“In case of an accident where urgent medical attention is required”. Is Jari-Matti Latvala qualified enough to asses the degree of someone’s injuries and act accordingly? Does he, again, stop and ask? Does he stop nonetheless, and remain at the site of an accident, even if idiot who was hit walks away? Because this guy may collapse with internal bleeding 5 minutes later. Let’s keep in mind that this person, who is not a member of officially accredited media, was not supposed to be standing there at all.
But my favourite is this article, 12.1.1c of the FIA International Sporting Regulations. It says breach of rules includes:
12.1.1.c Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any Competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.
Well, would you look at that. How is keeping all those people in a very high risk zone beneficial “to the interests of the motor sport generally”? We did not hear anything about that and I am pretty sure we won’t.
Latvala’s only mistake was not stopping. Then calling for a stage to be stopped as well. Then forcing marshals and stewards to do their job. All while pushing that idiot “photographer” into an ambulance.
By the way, that spectator does not value his own safety and health very much. First, he stood in a “direct line of fire”. Second, instead of running away to safety, he reached down to get his pricey camera and/or lens, which led to him being hit by Jari-Matti. How dumb is too dumb, really?
Very thin ice, and yet we continue to jump all over it so merrily.