The WRC has confirmed that a spectator at the Monte-Carlo Rally has lost their life after New Zealander Hayden Paddon rolled his Hyundai, with the car left on its side and blocking the icy road.
The first stage of the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally had already been cancelled after New Zealander Hayden Paddon rolled his Hyundai, with the car left on its side and blocking the icy road.
Neither Paddon nor co-driver John Kennard were hurt, but video images appeared to show a spectator tumbling down the rocky bank after the impact.
Paddon and co-driver John Kennard were unharmed but the spectator was airlifted to a local hospital in Nice, France.
His death was confirmed later that night and confirmed by WRC officials.
“Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, the spectator has sadly died,” the statement read.
“An investigation has commenced into the incident and all involved parties will provide assistance to the authorities. Everyone associated with the event extends their deepest sympathies and condolences to the families, friends and individuals affected.”
Hyundai Motorsport also said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of a spectator” and as a mark of respect for the spectator, have decided to withdraw car #4 from the rally.
As a mark of respect for the spectator who sadly passed away tonight we have decided to withdraw car #4 from Rallye Monte-Carlo.— Hyundai Motorsport (@HMSGOfficial) January 20, 2017
— Hyundai Motorsport (@HMSGOfficial) January 20, 2017
Paddon was almost at the end of the 21.25km Entrevaux-Ubraye stage when he lost control as he entered a left-hand corner and hit the bank rear first.
The rally started in Monaco's Casino Square on Thursday before the field left for the opening night stages north to the town of Gap.
Waterford's Craig Breen and Dungannon's Kris Meeke are both competing for Citroen in Monaco.
Meeke, who won in Finland and Portugal last year, is in the Citroën C3, while Breen and French driver Stéphane Lefebvre share second car duties in the DS3.
Friday is the longest day, with more stages on Saturday before Sunday's final leg that includes the renowned Col de Turini, where ice and snow can cause problems.
France's four times world champion Sebastien Ogier, now driving an M-Sport Ford, has won the rally for the past three years for Volkswagen.