A MORAY rally co-driver has defended his sport’s safety record in the wake of a tragic accident which claimed the life of a spectator.
Saturday’s Snowman Rally around Inverness was abandoned following the death of a female fan who was struck by a competing car navigated by Archiestown man Mike Hendry.
Elgin co-driver Sean Donnelly, who was just two cars behind the Honda Civic involved in the tragedy and was on the scene within moments, said the rallying world has been shocked by last weekend’s events.
But he believes the sport has unfairly received bad press after Saturday’s accident, and said Scottish rallying has an excellent safety record due to stringent procedures carried out before and during every single competition.
“This was nothing but a tragic accident,” he said. “Since the accident, people have tried to link it with other deaths and incidents, which they just cannot do or justify.
“Scottish motorsport is one of the safest in the world.”
Donnelly, who was navigating the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5 car driven by Elgin colleague Brian Ross, said he was unaware a spectator had been struck when they first arrived on the scene around 90 seconds after the accident on the opening stage of the rally.
“As soon as we got there, I jumped out the car, ripped off my helmet and ran to the car. I was trying to see if Mike and Graeme (Schoneville, the driver) had got out and making sure they were alright.Full story in Northern Scot print version.