Championship leader Sebastien Ogier has thanked the fans that helped him re-join following his 'stupid mistake' on Friday in SS10 of Rally Finland.
Ogier had been third overall, just 12.2secs behind Jari-Matti Latvala in second post-SS9, despite running first on the road, until he made an error in Surkee 2 and slid into a ditch at the 11.2km mark.
It took Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia, along with a few Finnish fans, several attempts to push the Polo R WRC back onto the stage and as a result he lost over 15 minutes. He finished the leg in 53rd position overall.
“We lost a lot of time because there were not many spectators to help us out. It was a stupid mistake,” Ogier said at the stage end.
Speaking back in service, he added: “There is a hairpin turn at the point at which I was too hard on the steering and wanted to cut the corner. As a result, I slid into the ditch on the inside.
“It was totally my mistake, and then at perhaps one of the slowest sections of the entire rally of all places. But that can happen when, like Julien and I, you have constantly been at the limit for the last six rallies or need to give 110 percent to try and make up for the disadvantage of the starting position.
“Initially, it didn't look all that bad and the fans did their best to help us. Unfortunately, there weren't as many spectators there as I would have hoped for. But without their help, Julien and I would never have got back on the track, so Kiitos [thank-you]!”
Meanwhile, Volkswagen boss Jost Capito agreed that the error was perhaps inevitable: “Sebastien's slip-up can happen when you constantly have to drive at the limit like he does. As expected, like at the last five rallies, we are unable to fight for the win here under our own steam since the best-placed drivers in the championship are at too great a disadvantage due to the early starting positions.”