World championship leader Neuville out of Chile race after crash

Concepción (Chile) (AFP) –


World rally championship leader Thierry Neuville rolled his car on a ridge at the Rally of Chile on Saturday and despite scrambling clear of his battered Hyundai was taken to hospital, his team said.

The Belgian ace's team said that Neuville had been flown to a hospital in Concepcion where he was given the all-clear but was also ruled out of the rest of the weekend's racing.

"We can happily confirm Thierry has no fractures or injuries after his roll this morning," Hyundai said after his check up.

Co-driver Nicolas Gisoul escaped relatively unscathed from the eighth stage incident.

"The crew exited the vehicle themselves," Hyundai reported.

"Neuville received medical attention at the scene and was then transported by helicopter to Concepción hospital."

"Neither driver nor co-driver suffered any fractures or injuries, but will not return for the remainder of the Rally Chile weekend."

The car was said to be badly damaged and left crumpled on its side as the race was red flagged.

Rival Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland described Neuville's crash site as "a nasty place", with the rally winding through forested terrain with hairpin bends.

Overall leader Ott Tanak said the logging roads being used on the first ever world rally championship visit to Chile were highly demanding.

"Thierry's accident can happen to anyone in a place like that," said Toyota driver Tanak.

By the end of the day, Tanak was more than 30 seconds ahead of six-time world champion Sebastien Ogier in a Citroen with four stages to be run on Sunday.

Neuville had led the overall standings of the world championship by 10 points from Ogier heading into the Rally of Chile.

Neuville and Gilsoul will be back in the championship fight at Rally de Portugal later this month.