Volkswagen motorsport director Jost Capito has come to the defence of Jari-Matti Latvala after he hit a spectator during the Monte Carlo Rally.
The Finn was forced to retire on stage 11 of the opening weekend of the 2016 World Rally Championship after knocking the spectator to the ground as he looked to rejoin the course.
Latvala later apologised for the incident and insisted he had not seen the man, but the Finna was fined and handed a one-rally ban by the race stewards.
I feel really sorry about the incident in the stage today and give you more details about what happened : https://t.co/ehRhWBjREr #WRC-- Jari-Matti Latvala (@JariMattiWRC) January 23, 2016
Capito says VW will stand by Latvala and insisted the 30-year-old was unaware of the situation until an interview with television after his retirement.
"There was so much steam and mud on the screen," Capito told Autosport. "I think he saw something, but he did not see the guy on the bonnet.
"Jari-Matti is not a guy who would not stop if he realised he had hit somebody. This guy is crying when a fly hits his windscreen.
"He wanted to know if he hit somebody, he wanted to know if they were alright.
"I think that influenced the stewards to understand that Jari-Matti doesn't just care about the car and the rally, he cares about the people."