Sunday | 28 May 2017

Østberg tops Fafe jumpers

High-flying Mads Østberg was king of the jumpers at the spectacular Fafe crest during last weekend’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal.

He delighted the massive crowds at the iconic jump by flying his Ford Fiesta for 36 metres during the rally-closing Power Stage [above - and see video below].

Rally winner Sébastien Ogier leapt the furthest during Sunday morning’s first pass when he reached 32 metres [below]. But it was the second pass when the daredevil high-fliers provided even better entertainment for the massive crowds.

Esapekka Lappi, Khalid Al Qassimi, Elfyn Evans and Østberg all flew long and high before flirting with the ditch on the left of the road as they returned to earth.

“I might have overdone it a little bit but it was spectacular. The car pulled slightly to the left as I took off and that’s quite scary. When I was in the air I was thinking ‘this will not end well!’  Østberg told

The OneBet Jipocar-backed Norwegian believed the jump changed between the two passes, a view shared by Evans.

“I felt it kicked a lot more, but even on the first run it kicked the back up really badly and on one side as well. Normally it’s a perfectly flat jump,” explained the Welshman.

“I wasn’t planning on trying a big jump at all and I braked fairly hard. I thought I was carrying similar speed to the first run, but I must have carried a little bit more. It wasn’t the size of the jump that was the problem, it was the way the car was pointing!”

One man not to survive Fafe intact was Quentin Gilbert. The Frenchman rolled his Skoda Fabia R5 end-over-end during the first pass, halting the stage and spelling instant retirement for the WRC 2 contender [below].

“I braked too hard before the jump and the car nose-dived, got stuck in the gravel and we somersaulted in front of tens of thousands of spectators,” explained Gilbert.

Next up for the big leapers is Micky’s Jump at Rally Italia Sardegna (8 - 11 June). It comes in Saturday’s Monte Lerno stage and as the road literally drops away beneath the cars after take off, it’s more about altitude than distance.

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