Motorsport Italia team co-ordinator Jack de Keijzer reflects on the final day of Rally Mexico where Michal Kosciuszko was forced to retire in his Lotos Team WRC-run MINI John Cooper Works WRC car...
Hello everyone, it's Jack writing to you for the final time from the Poliforum at Rally Mexico.
Today wasn't a good day. Michal started with high hopes. A Top 10 finish was within reach, especially with everyone needing to navigate the tough 54.85km Guanajuatito test safely. However, this year it was Michal's turn to fall foul of this difficult stage.
Everything was OK, until his engine started to overheat approximately 20km into the stage. This didn't immediately affect the car's performance. Michal continued to put in strong splits until 44km into the stage when the engine cut out and he was forced to retire.
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman WRC was collected from the stage by a recovery vehicle and returned to the Service Park where we had the chance to examine the cause of the problem. It seems that a broken alternator belt was the culprit. However, we will have to do more research after the event to work out exactly what happened.
Of course any problem on a long-haul rally is tricky to handle logistically, because the car will go directly from here to Argentina in the container. We'll make sure that everything runs like clockwork though and when Michal gets to Argentina his MINI will be as good as new.
It's a shame for the event to finish like this after Michal battled the first two days to stay in the mix, but that's rally! Now we will focus on Rally de Portugal.
We have 10 more events to do this year, so it's onward and upwards. One positive coming from Rally Mexico is that Michal completed the majority of the itinerary and now has some good gravel experience in competition in his MINI. He will take this to Portugal with him and build on it.
I'm off now to help pack up – a coordinator's work is never done. At least not until the party tonight!