WRC

Monte Carlo: Crowd safety issue cancels second stage

The second stage of the Monte Carlo rally was canceled today by race officials concerned about safety after large crowds lined both sides of the narrow roads through the mountains. Sisteron-Thoard is the longest and hardest of the rally, and one...

The second stage of the Monte Carlo rally was canceled today by race officials concerned about safety after large crowds lined both sides of the narrow roads through the mountains.

Sisteron-Thoard is the longest and hardest of the rally, and one of the favorite viewing sections of the season premier event of the World Rally Championship. Conditions were particularly harsh at the top of the snow-covered Col de Fontbelle.

"It was icy for about three or four kilometres so we drove cautiously," said Ford Rallye Sport driver Carlos Sainz. "It's too early to take risks. We chose Pirelli's soft compound dry weather tyres and that was the right choice. It's frustrating for us and the spectators that Sisteron was cancelled. The rally organisers must put arrangements in place to control the fans."

"Safety is of course absolutely crucial but it is frustrating for everyone when a predictable situation isn't stopped in advance," said Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery.

Stage four, over the same Sisteron-Thoard course, ran with no problems later on Friday. Monte Carlo organizers were apparently able to institute suitable crowd control measures.

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Series WRC
Drivers Carlos Sainz