Media duo Tony Jardine and Byron Young saw there Monte Carlo Rally dreams shattered after spinning their Ford Fiesta into retirement on a road section between stages seven and eight.
Driving for the Daily Mirror ProSpeed team, experienced driver Jardine and co-driving debutant, journalist Young, had progressed well up the field throughout the first two legs of the event, lying in 71st place overall. However they were to be caught out by the legendary Monte Carlo conditions, with a sudden snow storm making conditions treacherous. With the car still on wet tyres, Jardine was unable to stop the car sliding off the road after hitting a patch of sheet ice on the way to the final stage of Day 2.
Co-driver Young said: “We are gutted, absolutely gutted. Our ice crew that go out and recce the stages for us before we compete on them, completed their recce of stages seven and eight before the sudden snow blizzard arrived, which meant we were all unprepared for what was to come.
“Tony actually had to put the car into a wall to stop us from sliding any further down the hill. We had cars going off the road behind us and 100 yards in front of us, an unbelievable sight and they were all hitting the same patch of ice as us.
“The most frustrating thing is we could see the time control for the start of the eighth stage in the valley way below, but we just couldn't reach it! We spun 360 degrees into the wall as we were on wet tyres and not Kumho's studded snow tyres that could have saved us. We have been well and truly caught out by the famous and treacherous Monte Carlo conditions.”
Jardine added: “It took us seven hours before we managed to get our car back to service, and we had to wait on the stage, in minus seven temperatures, for our team to come and rescue us. It's a huge let down to exit the rally, especially as Byron was doing so well on his first ever international event – to have the experience cut short is a disappointment for the whole team.
“However, it was always an ambition of mine to even get as far as the first stage – so we have achieved that. We also have many people to thank for their support, without which we wouldn't have made it to the Monte Carlo Rally. For this event alone, Gran Turismo 5 for PlayStation 3 and Motorsport Insurance Services have backed us and it has been great to have them as part of the team.
“Congratulations to Byron for realising his goal of becoming a world-class co-driver. It really is an achievement to be proud of.”
Jardine and Young weren't the only one's caught out by the snow and ice, with only 69 cars making it to the third leg of the rally. Amongst the big names affected were leader Juho Hanninen, who made the wrong tyre choice and dropped from first to sixth, and 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg, who also lost time due to the sudden change in conditions.