Posted by Matthew Mac Partlin on Thursday, February 9, 2012

For me, the Catalunya Rally always had the most mental spectators. Lining the edges of the route 3 - 5 deep and scuttling out of the way only metres in front of an oncoming rally car and surging back in afterwards, it was only a matter of time before someone's luck ran out.

The Monte Carlo Rally is back on the WRC calendar, with a mammoth 5 day event (the influence of Jean Todt's preference for endurance events perhaps?). What a great stage the Col-de-Turini is! Long, technical, narrow and scary as hell drop-offs. But even scarier were the spectators lining the route on both sides of the small stone walls and on rocky outcrops overhanging steep mountainside. And the rows of parked cars along the edges of the stage. Hirvonen's spin on SS16 (Turini at night!!!) showed just how close disater might have been, as he came face to face with several spectators seated along the low stone wall. Probably made for some nervy rescue officials.

As it turned out, apart from Hirvonen's spin, the only other potential injury causing incidents were Ogier's high speed clipping of a corner that sent him into a short barrel roll and PG Andersen's engine spontaneously combusting on a tight right hairpin.