The pit crew of driver Steven Shepheard and his co-driver John McCarthy take a look at the damage caused by an object thrown by a protester on the final day of the rally in Kyogle.
The pit crew of driver Steven Shepheard and his co-driver John McCarthy take a look at the damage caused by an object thrown by a protester on the final day of the rally in Kyogle. Jay Cronan

Missile shatters Rally car

BRISBANE Production World Rally Championship driver Steven Shep- heard has reacted angrily to objects being thrown at him which smashed the rear window of his Mitsubishi Lancer while he was driving along Trenty Lane near Kyogle yesterday.

Shepheard and his co-driver, John McCarthy, were left shocked after a missile, believed to be a rock, shattered the window before the stage named Monroe on the final day of the Repco Rally Australia.

“We had seen a couple of people, sort of in between the trees which we didn't take much notice of,” he said.

“Then all of a sudden we heard a bang, which we sort of ignored, but a couple of metres later I looked in the rear vision mirror and saw the rear windscreen smashed.

“I looked back and there was people running away so we told the organisers, but it would be very hard for them to track people like that down.”

Police attended and the area was searched but no one was located.

For Shepheard, a privateer, it left a bitter taste in his mouth. “It's just disappointing when things like that happen,” he said.

“When you look at the money in the town and the people spending the money, I'm sure all the people who pay their taxes are probably really happy and excited the rally is here.”

Kyogle mayor Ross Brown was upset at the radical steps of a handful of protesters.

“It's very disappointing because the community does not support that,” he said.

“We support every- one's peaceful right to protest and we allowed them to put their views forward and we listened to their views, but we do not respect that type of behaviour and we will not condone it.

“I am extremely disappointed that we actually had something like that happen in our area. Even if it's only one incident, it's one incident too many.”

Five-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb was upset by the protesters' actions.

Loeb said if the majority of residents didn't want the rally to return to the area then it should be moved.

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