Every form of motorsport carries risk but generally speaking, this risk is only relevant to the actual racers and their pit teams as spectators are usually shielded from danger with high fences and strong tire walls.
However, rallying does not offer the level of safety which NASCAR and Formula One do, as onlookers can get within inches of speeding race cars and as a result, rallying is unquestionably one of the most dangerous motorsports in the world, if not the most dangerous.
Rallying is so dangerous in fact that the Group B rally series was cancelled predominantly because of the risk to onlookers. Unfortunately however, modern day rallying involves almost all of the same risks and it is that exact risk to spectators’ lives which recently killed two fans and injured 17 more, when a French rally car lost control during a race before careening into the group of spectators.
No names of those injured or killed have been released, but one of the casualties was reportedly a race marshal, while numerous children were also injured in this tragic accident. The event took place near Toulon, along France’s Mediterranean coast and is said to have been caused due to driver error, where they reportedly made a mistake at an intersection and plowed into the crowd rather than taking a sharp right turn.
Dominique Demeyer, another driver taking part in the event who witnessed the crash said, "The car took off straight ahead. It crashed into a first row of spectators before peeling off and mowing down other people who were further off."
Despite the obvious carnage caused by the event, it’s currently unconfirmed as to whether the driver will face any criminal charges - possibly on count of manslaughter – as he managed to walk away with just minor injuries.