A STAGE of the Wales Rally GB was called off on Friday due to spectators “sneaking” into dangerous vantage points near the racing track.

Organisers of the FIW World Rally Championship (WRC) 2019 said the fifth stage of the day two circuit, which passed through Aberhirnant woods, near Bala, had to be stopped due to the “selfish” spectators.

The top nine cars had already completed the fast section of track before marshals noticed there were fans in “dangerous positions”, despite being told to move earlier in the day.

A spokesperson for Wales Rally GB said the sport is “extreme enough” and that there are “no grey areas” for compromise when it comes to spectator safety.

“We have had to stop one stage after safety car marshals specifically asked spectators to move from a dangerous position, however they sneaked back after we left,” the spokesperson added.

“If people do not follow the advice of the marshals then the race cannot happen. The sport is extreme enough and drivers push their cars to the limit.

“It is obvious why it could go wrong and safety has to come first.

“This is not fair on the drivers, but it doesn’t impact them as much as the 99 per cent who walked a long way into the woods to spectate the event.”

Wales Rally GB posted on social media that the rest of the cars drove through the stage at a slow speed before continuing the circuit. They will be given times they clocked while completing the stage non-competitively.

Rally fans commented angrily over the forced closure of the stage.

Nix Cooper said: “[I have] been watching the rally since the 80s, people’s stupidity astounds me … No respect whatsoever.”

Matty Jones said “I feel sorry for the true rally fans sat out in the rain all morning”, while Ian Whitley, who said he has marshalled at rallies for more than 30 years, said “these aren't real motorsport fans”.

Wales Rally GB added on social media: "Everyone. Please listen to the marshals and officials. Please spectate safely as advised otherwise more stages will be stopped or cancelled.”