A car competing in a road race through a village in southern France lost control and smashed into a crowd of spectators Saturday, killing two and injuring at least 15, police said.

The cause of the crash during the Var Rally in Plan-de-la Tour village at 4:30 p.m. (1430 GMT, 10:30 a.m. EDT) was not immediately known, a policeman said on condition of anonymity in keeping with regulations. At least four of the injured were in serious condition.

Fire stations deployed about 50 rescue workers to the site, and some of the victims were rushed to hospitals, the policeman said.

The Var Rally is not a major road race in France, but as in others held in the country a major challenge is for the drivers to navigate narrow roads through rural areas at high speed as spectators watch, often from the sidelines.

Plan-de-la Tour, located near Toulon city, gained international attention several years ago when American actor Johnny Depp and singer Vanesa Paradis bought a house there.