31 Oct 08
Francois Duval’s co-driver Patrick Pivato will undergo surgery in Sapporo this evening to repair his pelvis and tibia, both of which were fractured in a crash earlier today.
The accident occurred 4.8 kilometres into SS6 (Yuparo) on a fast, muddy section of road when Duval's Ford Focus RS WRC slid wide into a steel crash barrier support pole, heavily impacting on the co-driver’s door.
First on the scene were Duval’s Stobart VK M-Sport team-mates Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin who aided Duval - who was uninjured - in alerting safety officials.
After being released from the car, Pivato was airlifted to Higashi Tokushukai hospital in Sapporo where he will be operated on tonight to increase the chances of a speedy recovery.
Stobart Ford team principal Malcolm Wilson said: “The accident happened when Francois got caught out on a slippery, high-speed section and the car slid wide into the Armco. There was a large steel post holding some wire which the car had a heavy impact with on Patrick’s side. The event safety crews did a fantastic job in getting to the scene quickly and safely extracting Patrick from the car before airlifting him to hospital. Both Matthew and Scott also need to be commended on their handling of Francois’ accident; arriving first on the scene they accessed the situation and took the right actions to help their team-mates safely out of the stage.”