What exactly happened? “Actually we don’t know because the flames and the smoke was coming very fast so I decided to stop because it was impossible to sit in the car any more. We will try to find the parts that could have been broken, like the brake pipes or dampers because maybe there was some problem with leaking oil from these parts because it was really aggressive, very fast. It will be difficult because you can see there is nothing left on the car.”
You suffered a puncture earlier in the stage. Could this have contributed to the problem? “We had a flat tyre but normally nothing happens with a flat tyre. Maybe there was some combination with this problem. But there was no crash, nothing like that. We were looking in the mirrors and we saw big flames. Then the smoke was coming so everything happened very fast.”
How far were you from the stage finish? “It was one kilometre from the finish. Of course I was thinking to go there but then I realised it was not possible and within a few minutes it was done. The problem was the fire brigade could not come for 18 minutes and it was not possible to save the car even though we tried to do our best with some extinguishers. But it didn’t help.”
The main thing is you are okay, right? “We are both okay because we jumped from the car immediately. My co-driver was trying for a long time to save the car but it was not possible.”
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the car...? “The car is completely finished, you cannot use anything from the car. Everything is completely destroyed. I just took my phone from the car, that is all I had time to take.”
How are you feeling now? “I am happy I am fine but for the team it is a big problem. We were hoping for something good here in Germany. I know this race and on the last stage we found a good set-up and the split times were very good. It’s a shame because we’ve had no retirements this season and some good results. Now we’ve lost the car and I don’t feel very good. It’s good Rally GB is close and we have to think about this and the future.”
So you will be able to get a replacement car for Wales Rally GB? “I think yes, we will manage but we have to focus on the work and not think about this race any more.”
"The flames and the smoke was coming so fast"