26 Apr 08
Sebastien Loeb says he’s not sure who to blame for the accident that took him out of the lead of the Jordan Rally after SS11.
“It’s difficult to explain, and very stupid,” said Loeb. “The start and the end of SS11 are very close together, so after I finished the stage I was driving away from it and Rautenbach was heading to the start on the same piece of road. It was a hidden corner; he was a bit late I think, so he had to go a bit fast. I was not very concentrated on the road section because I had just come out of the stage. When we saw each other it was too late and the two C4s are broken. It’s difficult to say whose fault it was - maybe both of us. He was pushing a bit harder at the place, but what can you do? It’s not a question of who is to blame; the fact is we’ve lost the lead of the rally and a lot of points maybe.
“It’s very disappointing. We were doing a good rally this morning, we were pushing hard to increase our lead for tomorrow and it was going really well. The only satisfaction we have is that the car was working perfectly and it’s looking good for the future. I don’t know for sure if I can be fixed for tomorrow, it depends on the state of the engine. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Conrad Rautenbach agreed with Loeb that it was difficult to apportion blame. “It’s disappointing for the team and for Sebastien obviously but I can’t see that it was anyone’s fault,” he said. “My door was broken and I was holding it closed at the time - perhaps I wasn’t concentrating - but it’s just one of those things. It’s a real shame because yesterday afternoon we had a few problems and retired at the end of the last stage. I thought it couldn’t get any worse, but it did.”
Citroen Total team principal Olivier Quesnel said he wouldn’t be wasting time trying to find out who was at fault. “We’ll probably never know who is to blame; when you have an accident it’s stupid but that’s it - it’s finished,” he said. “The fact is we lost a car and it was 34 sec in front of everybody. We are very sad but that’s sport sometimes. We still have one car and it’s in the lead, so we will carry on and try and win the rally.”