PHOTOS: All pics courtesy of WRC.com
WRC young guns Hayden Paddon and Andreas Mikkelsen felt the sting of Neste Oil Rally Finland’s fearsome reputation when they crashed spectacularly out of the competition on Friday’s first leg.
Volkswagen Motorsport driver Mikkelsen was first to hit trouble, rolling his Polo R into the scenery just one kilometre into the morning’s final stage, Himos.
“Himos is a stage I know very well and one where I’ve always been fast, but it has a new beginning this year and that’s where I went off,” Mikkelsen told wrc.com.
“Basically a pace note was a little bit too aggressive. I had ‘maybe flat’ in my notes and even though I lifted a bit it wasn’t enough.
“The car caught the outside and dragged us in. Then we did some rolls. I couldn’t count how many but it was quite a heavy one. I think we were quite lucky.”
The car was returned to Volkswagen’s service base where the damage was found to be too extensive for Mikkelsen to be able to restart.
Hyundai driver Paddon’s recent run of terrific form ended abruptly approaching the finish of the very next stage, the afternoon repeat of Pihlakakoski.
“It happened on a flat-out right that led into a left,” Paddon said.
“To get the line you have to tuck in to the right of the right-hander. Unfortunately there was a rock in there that we didn’t see and that broke the steering straightaway. From there on we were just passengers.
“We went straight through the left-hander and into the trees on the other side. John [Kennard, c-driver] and I are okay, but the front of the car looks a bit average.”
Back at the team’s base the damage to the i20 World Rally Car proved to be worse than average and the Kiwi crew was forced to retire.