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Rautenbach: That was a big one!
4 August 2009
Conrad Rautenbach has admitted he and co-driver Daniel Barritt were lucky to escaped unhurt after their off in the penultimate stage of the Neste Oil Rally Finland, the ninth round in the 2009 World Rally Championship.
The Zimbabwean, who had been running ninth overall in his Citroen Junior Team-run C4 WRC, went off the road around halfway through the 15.06 kilometre Myhinpaa 2 test. Although no-one was injured the car was badly damaged.
"That's not how we wanted to end our rally," Rautenbach reflected. "We weren't taking any risks but these are always very complex stages. I'm bitterly disappointed."
Asked about the off in more detail, he told the official WRC website that he just misjudged the correct speed.
"We were just too fast into the corner. In a long, long right hand corner the back just stepped out," he explained.
"I thought we could try and catch it, but we ended up down here. It was quite a big accident and we are really lucky. The car is really strong and everything has held-up really well. We are okay."
Rautenbach's team-mate Evgeny Novikov meanwhile also had a bad event and failed to get to the end.
Indeed the Russian crashed out not once but twice, going off the road in the very first stage on day one and then going out again on day two, having re-joined under the SupeRally. In total he did less then six of the 23 stages.
"The first off in SS2 was because of a mistake in the pace notes, which shows our lack of experience. On roads as quick as this, you need a really good rhythm. I just missed a note over a crest and we ended up in the trees," Novikov stated. "On Saturday we were going at a quick pace and our first splits were good.
"We then had two big moments - one jump on which we landed with the back bumper touching the ground and then a high-speed encounter with the trees [in Leustu 2, SS14]. That was it."
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