Sébastien Ogier may be forced to wait for Sunday to fully restart Rally Finland under Rally2 regulations, with his co-driver Julien Ingrassia bearing the brunt of their Friday morning crash.
The Frenchman retired early in the rally, sliding off the road in the first running of the Jukojärvi test. While M-Sport have been able to carry out repairs in a timely manner, the concern is over whether Ingrassia will be ready to step back into the fixed Fiesta WRC.
“The car is okay I think,” said Ogier. “Julien got a bit shaken in the crash. We’ve done all the tests and there is nothing which came out of the test from the hospital, but still at the moment he’s not feeling super good, so I want to wait and give him the chance to decide.”
This concern over Ingrassia’s recovery from the crash led to the suggestion that M-Sport may wait until Sunday to return Ogier to competitive action, with the aim of scoring maximum points in the rally-ending powerstage.
“Yes, it is [possible],” Ogier responded. “I have to wake up [at] six tomorrow to come out of parc fermé, retire again, but then it’s possible.”
The crash occurred due to damage sustained to his Fiesta earlier in the same stage, and Ogier took time to dissect the full chain of events leading up to his rally-ending accident.
“We had a very big jump, maybe 2 kilometres before I crash, where I broke the rear suspension on the landing, because the landing was a bit heavy,” he explained. “Afterwards I had no damping anymore in the rear, so then at the end of the stage I got a bit disturbed with that, and of course the rear of the car didn’t behave normally, but I was not so sure.”
While Ogier admitted he was pushing too hard at that corner, he said that without the earlier suspension damage, the crash was less likely to have happened in the first place.
“At the corner I crashed, I braked slightly too late – you check the data compared to the test not so much – but the combination with the broken damper meant that I lose the rear. I had quite a [big] impact sideways in the tree and that was game over.
It was a shame as we had really good pace. Already in the morning we lost a couple of seconds because of a throttle problem. We don’t know what happened, but sometime the throttle problem was not responding, and on the previous stage I lost about four seconds with it. So without this I was right in the front with Jari [Latvala].
It could have been an interesting weekend, but that’s how it is. I knew here we had to push to do something.”