Andreas Aigner's 'test' for the Rally New Zealand at the end of this month went drastically wrong in Finland last weekend.

Aigner, who had been running 26th overall and ninth in the Group N class, as the best non-Scandinavian, made what he admitted was a 'stupid error' on the final stage on the second loop on Friday, when he went wide in SS7, the 13.90 km Palsankyla 2 stage, and ended up in a pond.

Although the Austrian and his co-driver Klaus Wicha both escaped unharmed, most of his Red Bull Rallye Team-run Mitsubishi Evo 9 was left submerged and as such he was unable to SupeRally on days 2 and 3.

While it doesn't directly effect his position as he battles for the Production Car World Rally Championship title - as Finland was not one of his six nominated points' scoring rounds, Juha Hanninen's eventual victory was a blow, as Aigner's cushion is now cut back to 8 points.

"It all happened so fast. I drifted too wide under braking, to the outside of a corner, first slamming into one, then the other side of the road, before losing the rear altogether - and soon we were right in the pond," Aigner reflected. "It was a really stupid mistake. What a shame, my test programme was nowhere near finished."

Red Bull Rallye Team boss Raimund Baumschlager meanwhile was also disappointed, especially as his other driver, Bernardo Sousa, had to pull out prior to the event due to an old shoulder injury.

"For a short time we considered re-starting on Saturday but it wouldn't have made sense because the engine and the entire electronic system were submerged in water. It's just sad that we were unable to get more out of this event," Baumschlager added.

"All our plans have broken down because of it. Neither was Andreas able to get to know this very difficult rally, nor were we able to properly go through with our preparations for the Rally New Zealand [our next round in the P-WRC]."


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