Rally Australia disrupted by protestors
4 September 2009

Australian police have vowed to hunt down protesters who sabotaged stages on the opening day of Rally Australia by throwing rocks at cars and blocking a stage.

Stages six and 11 were cancelled today after rocks were thrown at the course opening car and the stage was blocked when protesters against the event pulled a fence across the road. The protesters are angry that the event is disrupting their daily life, and the local environment.

World championship leader Mikko Hirvonen was first on the scene in SS6, but the Finn drove straight through the fence. Stage 11, a repeat of that test, was cancelled to allow the police investigation to get under way.

Superintendent Michael Kenny said, "The protesters involved in this rock throwing incident have shown total disregard for the safety of the competitors and officials involved in today's stage of the event. Their behaviour had the potential to seriously injure or kill somebody.

"I will make no apology for coming down hard on anybody considering radical action. Protesters who abide by the law have nothing to fear; however, any action that is unlawful will not be tolerated nor will any action which endangers people's safety."

Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala is leading the event from Citroen junior team driver Sebastien Ogier.

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Ford reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK