Date/Time: 8:00 am Monday 9th November 2020
Location: Corsica, France
Event: Tour de Corse
Competitors: 120 Vehicles, 120 Drivers and 120 Co-Drivers.
Format: 14 stages, 347.51 km total distance.
Environmental Conditions: Dry sunny conditions throughout the day. Clear skies, with hot ambient temperature and dusty environment.
Car 83, a Hyundai i20 R5 competing in the World Rally 2 category by Fuel Motorsport – was driven by 31-year-old John Smith and co-driven by 33-year-old Peter Anderson. Both Smith and Anderson have had a similar level of prior rally experience competing in the World Rally 2 category and have both competed together with Fuel Motorsport at the Tour de Corse event for the last 2 years.
During the 7th stage of the event at Corsica, Car 83’s rally became unstuck 3.6km (at Instruction Number 15) into the 11km stage (2:56 pm). Shortly after passing a bump, Smith ran too fast into a tight right-hand corner, sliding wide and hitting a large tree on the vehicle’s co-driver’s side, coming to a forced halt upon impact with the tree.
As the vehicle was airborne shortly prior to the corner, Car 83 was carrying a relatively large amount of speed (110km/h) before entering the tight left-hander, and there was insufficient space to slow down for the corner after landing. There was no warning sign prior to the corner.
Car 83’s left-hand side took the majority of the damage, crumpling the door and safety cage’s lateral structural members. The safety cage itself stayed intact but suffered a small amount of bend. However, Anderson’s 6-point harness was not worn properly, leaving his head and body to sway sideways significantly, though he did not come in contact with anything.
While all of the safety features on Anderson’s side of the vehicle were fully functional, the close proximity of the impact on the vehicle to Anderson and the protruding shape of the tree resulted in his full-face helmet sustaining impact on the tree. This resulted in a loss of consciousness which was persistent and sustained.
Both Smith and Anderson sustained cuts and bruises from various objects breaking loose in the cabin, and the whiplash delivered by the harness. A more severe degree of whiplash was endured by Anderson due to improper wear of the harness. Aside from the minor cuts and bruises, driver Smith was shaken up by the incident but not heavily injured – remaining conscious throughout.
The next vehicle behind Smith and Anderson was Car 42 - driven by Joe Jobs and Edward Electric, who stopped at the scene moments after (2:57 pm). The stage was stopped by officials, and luckily for Smith and Anderson, there was a marshalled spectator area nearby, from where a dozen spectators flocked to assist Car 83.
Jobs, Electric, the Marshall, and the spectators all helped move the car away from the tree and assisted the crew’s exit from the vehicle. At 3:01 pm, a First Intervention Vehicle arrived, with a paramedic and trauma doctor on-board to assist the occupants. Observations on the arrival of the FIV for each driver were as follows:
|HR 116bpm||HR 98bpm|
|BP 142/89||BP 138/78|
|RR 24||RR 24|
|SpO2 97%||SpO2 98%|
|GCS 6/15||GCS 6/15|
|PEARL 4mm (Pupils Equal and Reactive to Light)||PEARL 6mm (Right pupil sluggish) / 4mm (Left pupil reactive)|
|HR 104bpm||HR 88bpm|
|BP 156/90||BP 126/72|
|RR 24||RR 16|
|SpO2 98%||SpO2 98%|
|GCS 15/15||GCS 15/15|
Anderson was intubated for transport with an assumption of traumatic brain injury. For and following intubation, Anderson was sedated and medically paralysed, resulting in a GCS of 3/15. Smith and Anderson were taken back to a hospital via an ambulance that arrived at 3:47 pm, with Anderson being prioritised due to the critical nature of his injuries.
All vehicles moved back to the service park, while Car 83 (which was left stationary at the crash-site) was towed off the track, and debris was removed. The stage was restarted at 4:03 pm.