List of fatal World Rally Championship accidents
|Classes of competition
The list of fatal World Rally Championship accidents consists of drivers and co-drivers who have died at FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) rallies. The list also includes fatal accidents in the International Championship for Manufacturers (IMC), the predecessor to the World Rally Championship, which was contested from 1970 to 1972. Well-known fatalities involving officials, spectators and team members are also mentioned.
The fatal accidents of the Group B era resulted in its demise. Only hours after Henri Toivonen's crash at the 1986 Tour de Corse, FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre announced that Group B cars were banned for the 1987 season. However, driver fatalities peaked in 1989, when five competitors died in the first three rallies of the season (two during reconnaissance, two who were spectating having only done reconnaissance for the event, and only one as an active competitor). Markko Märtin's co-driver Michael Park's death at the 2005 Wales Rally GB was the WRC's first fatality in over eleven years.
Drivers and co-drivers
|Name||Role||Date of accident||Event||Car||During|
|Seppo Jämsä||Co-driver||2 August 1974||1974 1000 Lakes Rally||Morris Mini 850||Rally|
|Don Daly||Co-driver||27 November 1976||1976 RAC Rally||Saab 99 EMS||Rally|
|Tomas Fuchs||Driver||14 August 1982||1982 Rallye do Brasil||Fiat 147||Rally|
|Reijo Nygren||Co-driver||26 August 1983||1983 1000 Lakes Rally||Ford Escort RS||Rally|
|Attilio Bettega||Driver||2 May 1985||1985 Tour de Corse||Lancia 037 Rally||Rally|
|Henri Toivonen||Driver||2 May 1986||1986 Tour de Corse||Lancia Delta S4||Rally|
|Jean-Michel Argenti||Co-driver||7 May 1987||1987 Tour de Corse||Peugeot 205 GTI||Rally|
|Jean-Marc Dubois||Driver||11 October 1988||1988 Rallye Sanremo||Citroën AX Sport||Rally|
|George Mignot||Driver||2 January 1989||1989 Swedish Rally||Volkswagen Golf||Reconnaissance|
|Bernard de Lathuy||Co-driver|
|Lars-Erik Torph||Driver||23 January 1989||1989 Monte Carlo Rally||Lancia Delta Integrale||Rally[nb 1]|
|Augusto Mendes||Driver||1 March 1989||1989 Rallye de Portugal||Opel Kadett GSI||Rally|
|Francis Malaussene||Co-driver||22 January 1990||1990 Monte Carlo Rally||Renault 5 GT Turbo||Rally|
|Rodger Freeth||Co-driver||18 September 1993||1993 Rally Australia||Subaru Legacy RS||Rally|
|Michael Park||Co-driver||18 September 2005||2005 Wales Rally GB||Peugeot 307 WRC||Rally|
|Jörg Bastuck||Co-driver||24 March 2006||2006 Rally Catalunya||Citroën C2 S1600||Rally[nb 2]|
|Name||Role||Date of accident||Event||Car||During|
|Eiichi Morinishi||Driver||February 1970||1970 East African Safari Rally||Datsun 1600 SSS||Reconnaissance|
|David Ndahura||Driver||28 March 1970||1970 East African Safari Rally||Peugeot 404||Rally|
|Cyrus Kamundia||Driver||March 1971||1971 East African Safari Rally||Datsun||Reconnaissance|
|Christian Serradori[nb 3]||Driver||25 June 1971||1971 Coupe des Alpes[nb 4]||Lancia Fulvia||Rally|
|Yves Serradori[nb 3]||Co-driver|
At the 1975 Safari Rally, a service car with four mechanics crashed into a truck near Mombasa. Carlino Dacista, Brian Fernandez and Willie Uis died instantly. The driver David Joshi sustained serious injuries. At the 1978 Monte Carlo Rally, two mechanics, Bernard Balmer and Georges Reinier, died when their van collided with a truck near Gap, Hautes-Alpes. On the second day of the 1987 Rallye Côte d'Ivoire, Toyota Team Europe's Cessna 340 crashed and exploded, killing all four inside; manager and former co-driver Henry Liddon, his assistant Nigel Harris, the pilot and the navigator. Team manager Ove Andersson withdrew Toyota from the event. Prior to the accident, Björn Waldegård and Fred Gallagher had been running second in their Toyota Supra Turbo. At the 1996 Safari Rally, competed in bad weather and rain, three British mechanics drowned while attempting to cross a river with their Land Rover.
At the end of the fourth stage of the 1981 1000 Lakes Rally, Audi Sport driver Franz Wittmann and his co-driver Kurt Nestinger did not notice the flying finish which marks the end of the stage. They continued at race speed with their Quattro and crashed into a group of people standing in front of a van. Raul Falin, chairman of AKK, Finland's sporting authority for motorsport and the country's representative in the FIA, was quickly taken to a hospital but died from his injuries soon after. Boris Rung, co-founder and chairman of the European Rallycross Association and member of FIA's Off-Road Commission, survived the accident along with Greek FIA observer Costas Glossotis.
At the 1978 Safari Rally, five by-passers and four spectators were killed in unrelated accidents, both involving non-competitive drivers crashing into competitors.
On the first stage of the 1986 Rally Portugal, Joaquim Santos lost control of his Ford RS200 while trying to avoid spectators on the road, crashing into a "human wall" of spectators, killing three and injuring over thirty. All the factory teams – Audi, Austin Rover, Ford, Lancia, Peugeot and Volkswagen – withdrew from the event.
At the 1995 Rally of the Thousand Lakes (non-WRC event by that time), at a special stage Hassi one spectator died when Belgian national Bruno Thiry, driving 0-car, ran over her. According to some reports the spectator was unable to hear Thiry's car coming because of the crowd noise and relatively low sound of the car compared to full WRC vehicles.
At the 1996 Rally of the Thousand Lakes, at the famous special stage Harju that took place in the centrum of "Rally Capital" Jyväskylä, one spectator died and 36 injured when Danish national Kristen Rikhard lost control of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution due to too high speed and wrong driving line. Rikhard, car number 65, reached the curve at 120 km/h (approximately 75 mph), finally hitting the crowd at 40 km/h (approx 24 mph) although the audience had placed within safe distance to road.
- Lars-Erik Torph and Bertil-Rune Rehnfeldt only did the reconnaissance for the event, and then were spectating the fifth stage when Alex Fiorio lost control of his Lancia Delta Integrale, went off the road and crashed into them at about 145 km/h (90 mph).
- Following a crash on the second stage, JWRC contestant Aaron Burkart's co-driver Jörg Bastuck was changing a wheel when he was struck by the Ford Fiesta ST driven by Stobart M-Sport Ford's Barry Clark, who had lost control of his car and gone off at the same place.
- Unlike Corriere della Sera and Sport Auto, 28 June issue of Autosprint reports the last name of the French brothers as "Ferradori". The brothers died during the third stage of the rally, on Col de l'Iseran mountain pass, when their Lancia Fulvia went off the road and fell 200 meters (660 ft) into a ravine.
- Because the 1971 Coupe des Alpes (Alpine Rally) ran with an insufficient number of starters, no points were awarded towards the championship.
- "Carlino Dacista". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- "Bernard Balmer". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- "Henry Liddon". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- "1996 Safari Rally". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- "Raul Falin". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- "1978 Safari Rally". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- "3 Portuguese spectators killed by skidding racer". St. Petersburg Times: 29. 6 March 1986.
- "20º Rallye de Portugal Vinho do Porto". RallyBase. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- "Katsojaonnettomuus Jyväskylän Suurajoissa 23.8.1996" (PDF). Retrieved 20 July 2009.
- "Spectator dies after Monte Carlo WRC crash". Retrieved 20 January 2017.