Sport Motorsport Dead rally driver ‘had alcohol in system’

Dead rally driver ‘had alcohol in system’

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Inquiries into a fatal 207km/h rally crash in which the driver was under the influence of alcohol will shine a light on safety regulations for the motor sport.

John Ernest Mansell, 71, from Newcastle in NSW was killed on April 17, 2013 after crashing his Porsche while competing in the popular Targa Tasmania event.

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A five-day inquest into Mr Mansell’s death opened in Launceston on Monday, with counsel assisting the coroner, David Barclay, outlining what will be examined, including whether there was any provision for the breathalysing of drivers at the start of each day.

A toxicology report tendered in evidence showed Mr Mansell’s blood alcohol level was 0.012 when the crash occurred just after 9am.

“This level would be described as low (and) … not greatly impair driving performance,” Mr Barclay read from the report.

Mr Mansell lost control of his 2009 Porsche Cayman S after becoming airborne on an unmarked crest just 5km into the first stage of day one, held in the north of the state near Exton, the court was told.

The car was travelling at 207km/h at the time, he said.

The car left the road and slammed into a tree, killing Mr Mansell and seriously injuring his co-driver Tristan Catford, who is due to give evidence to the inquest on Monday.

Coroner Simon Cooper will hear from 10 witnesses, including police, rally organisers, and Australian rally champion Ed Ordynski.


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