Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville was the first to come across the stranded zero car which was pulled over to one side of the road midway through the 20.32km Nukata Forest test.
Neuville, who rejoined the rally after crashing out of second on stage six yesterday, passed the car but soon switched into road mode for the remainder of the stage.
Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta also navigated by the Rally Japan official car before organisers threw the red flags.
M-Sport’s Ott Tanak and Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi had already begun the stage when the red flags were shown.
It is unclear why the zero car was stopped within the stage.
Officials restarted the stage after a delay with Neuville, Katsuta, Lappi and Tanak set to receive notional times.
The FIA has since provided a statement confirming it is investigating the matter.
“The FIA is working with the organisers to investigate the stage delay which occurred on SS9 at Rally Japan on Saturday. A statement will be provided upon request following this investigation.”
More to follow.