Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala says an impact with a rock was to blame for his crash on Rally Argentina on Saturday.
Latvala had been leading by 14.5seces when he went off 21 kilometres into the long 38.68km Los Gigantes-Cantera El Condor 2 test, rolling his Polo R WRC multiple times. It caused severe damage and he was unable to continue.
“First things first: Miikka [Anttila – my co-driver] and I are well. We will, however, be taken to hospital for a check-up – just to be on the safe side. We were actually having a good day. We had a good rhythm and had not had any problems,” he recounted.
“But then we hit a rock on stage 14 and came off the road. We rolled several times. We obviously could not continue the rally after that.
“Whether or not we are able to return under Rally 2 regulations tomorrow depends on the doctors' decision and the state of our car.
“The crash is naturally very disappointing, but it also showed just how safe the Polo R WRC is.”
Speaking to the official WRC site, Latvala revealed that the front-suspension broke when he hit the rock.
“I was in a very fast section where there was a bit of bedrock on the road, and when we went over the bedrock suddenly the front-right top-mount broke and the damper came through the bonnet,” he confirmed. “At that moment I couldn't steer the car any more, we went into a bank and we rolled.”
“I'm really disappointed but I don't know what else I could have done,” continued the Finn. “I had a good lead, it had been a controlled drive and I was in control on the stage. If I have to avoid every stone then we can go home - there is no point to come to the rally! You can't avoid every rock if you try to win. And this wasn't a loose rock, it was part of the road. I can't understand how it breaks.
“But that's how it is - very unlucky.”