Sir Jackie Stewart has thrown his support behind an assault on a woman trackside by an anti-sexist rally driver who later flipped the bird. A debate over sexism among World Rally Championship drivers became so heated at this weekend’s Rally Bahrain that spectator Maya Kalitangire was taken away by security after she became irate when she was told she had to leave the road when male spectators screamed at her and tried to touch her on the back. “I don’t like men being in front of me,” she said. “I just don’t want that for myself — I don’t want that for my children.”
Kalitangire, 39, was held for four hours and finally released, but the BBC reports she is under investigation for allegedly assaulting a representative of the championship. A spokesman for the British motorsport federation said there were a number of “frank and heated exchanges” but nothing that led to violence.
Stewart said women should feel safe on the track. “I don’t like sexist stuff going on either, and you don’t like anyone, I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman, getting pushed off the track and generally not being treated as any different from anyone else,” he said. “You don’t have to be religious, but you should be religious about treating women the same way you treat men.”
Last season, a single-seat rally driver accused of assaulting a woman also said sexist spectators were the cause of her altercation with her competitors. Danica Patrick told the Wall Street Journal she reacted badly after she was hit in the knee with a shoe last March at Rally Germany. She said she sprinted after the woman and tried to beat her up. She later apologized to police.