Not only that, but co-driver Patrick Pivato was seriously injured during the crash and was immediately taken to the nearest hospital. Sources within Stobart Ford team revealed that Pivato was conscious when taken out of the car and that Duval was also taken to the hospital for further investigations.
“There's some armco on that particular stage that we believe he's gone into sideways. They've now managed to extract Patrick from the car and he's on his way to hospital. As far as we understand, he's conscious. The extent of his injuries we don't know,” told team director Malcolm Wilson to World Rally Radio.
“The good thing is at least he's conscious and he's in safe hands now. Really it's just a case now of getting him to hospital and waiting to find out exactly what the extent is. Francois is fine. We believe it's gone in on the co-driver's side. There was obviously difficulty getting Pivato out of the car, but at least now he's out and he's on his way.”
The stage was stopped as a result of Duval's accident. Mikko Hirvonen was leading the rally at the time, with teammate Jari-Matti Latvala following him in second place and championship rival Sebastien Loeb in 3rd. However, the standings are now provisional until the rally officials determine the way the times are awarded following the stoppage of the stage.
Special stage 7 was also canceled by the Japanese officials due to increased snowfall.