DURING the opening leg of Rally Poland Australians Scott Pedder and co-driver Dale Moscatt battled with a faulty differential in their Skoda Fabia R5.
On Saturday they mounted a determined come back only to lose valuable time with a puncture. And on the final day of the rally heavy overnight rain and treacherous road conditions conspired to force Pedder onto the retirement list.
“It’s been such an up and down weekend,” Pedder said. “And each time we managed to fight back. On Friday we finished equal tenth and managed to get back to fifth before the puncture yesterday dropped us to eighth.
“Today we managed to get back to fifth again after the opening stage, and then everything unravelled again.”
The forecast rain hit overnight and on roads that were already struggling to handle the rut digging grunt of the outright World Rally Cars, Pedder and his WRC2 competitors struggled to get their power to the ground on roads that had become waterlogged.
“The first stage wasn’t bad, it was wet and very slippery in spots, but we got through cleanly and into fifth.
“On the second stage we arrived at a chicane, there was a huge puddle everyone had hit and we completely missed the chicane. I think I’d lost concentration because on the next corner the car ran wide and we had the lightest of rollovers.”
As the Polish spectators scrambled to roll the stranded Skoda off its roof and back onto its wheels Pedder estimates he lost more than 30 seconds.
“The third stage though was even worse. When the WRC guys are describing it as the worst stage they have ever driven you kind of know it’s bad. There was a two kilometre straight where we never made it into fifth gear, there was just so much standing water and the ruts were so incredibly deep.” Pedder said.
But it was to get worse.
“Basically I arrived at a fairly slow right-hander further into the stage, there was an exposed rock, we hit it like everyone else and it snapped the right front control arm. That was it, rally over.”
With the conditions in the stage deteriorating rapidly the organisers were forced to cancel the stage just a handful of cars after Scott Pedder had retired.
“It’s massively disappointing that the zero car or the FIA safety team decided the stage was acceptable to run, only to then cancel the stage after we’d just gone into it.”
Despite the disappointment Scott Pedder says he and Moscatt continued to make progress with their Skoda Fabia R5 over the weekend and that bodes well as they prepare to return to the scene of their strongest result last season, Rally Finland.
“Obviously finishing fourth there last year is still an incredible memory, and with what we learnt this weekend I think that stands us in good stead for another good result when we get to Finland this time around too