Stage 1 of Rallye Monte Carlo cancelled after spectator dies

Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

The first stage of the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo has been cancelled with only two cars setting a time.

Sebastien Ogier got proceedings underway and set a benchmark time of 12m10.9s in the M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC.

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville was next on the road and drove a storming stage to finish 0.7 seconds faster than the reigning champion.

As the excitement grew it was soon over as Hayden Paddon understeered then slid wide on ice and hit the side of the cliff, rolling the Hyundai over on to its side.

It was at this point the officials called a halt to the stage, the usual hurry to get the rally car on its wheels wasn’t there, Paddon was out of the car and speaking with spectators.

There was no official word from organisers as to why the stage has been cancelled to start with but it became clear that it was not a usual situation.

Hyundai Motorsport released the following statement following the accident.