Suzuki's Michal Kosciuszko has said that he won't give up the fight for this year's Junior World Rally Championship title, despite the disappointment of crashing out of Rally Poland last weekend.
Kosciuszko, who needed to do well to maintain his challenge for the 2009 JWRC crown, ran strongly throughout and was enjoying a good battle with eventual winner, Kevin Abbring, when disaster struck with the finish in sight.
Going into SS16, he was 1.8 seconds in front, however, he hit a rock on the repeat run through Milki and went off and smacked into a tree. That damaged the radiator on his Suzuki Swift S1600 and he soon had to stop as his engine overheated.
It was a bitter blow, not only because he was on course to do so well on home soil and in front of his fellow countrymen, but also because it hands the advantage to arch championship rival Martin Prokop, who is now joint top with Kosciuszko in the JWRC standings, but who has an event in hand.
“I can't really say how disappointed I am because it was my home rally. I wanted to perform well in my country. The car has been fantastic and I am very sorry for my retirement,” said Kosciuszko.
“I could have good battle with Abbring but I hit a rock and went off, then the radiator lost cooling water.
“Rally Finland is the next event - and the last event for me. Even though Martin has two events left [as he nominated Spain as one of his rounds to score points on] I will not give up the championship title.”
Suzuki Sport Europe team boss, Yasuhiro Ishii, meanwhile was disappointed to see Kosciuszko go out late on.
He remains upbeat however, and is still hopeful that Kosciuszko or his team-mate Aaron Burkart - who did not compete in Poland - could deliver the crown for Suzuki.
“I am really sorry Michal could not finish in his home rally but it is not the end of the championship. There is still chance for Michal and Aaron to get the JWRC championship title,” Ishii confirmed.
“The Clio R3 with 2 litre engine will also perform very well in the next event, Rally Finland, which has similar character to Rally Poland.
“I guess we will have close battle again. We will have test and then take the surest measures for it.”