Estonia’s Ott Tanak says a momentary delay in braking was responsible for his violent crash at Portugal today at the rally’s most infamous corner.
The Ford Fiesta RS driver was a surprise third, 11sec behind rally leader Sebastien Ogier when he crashed in Saturday’s second test, the 22.15km Malhao, at the same spot where Jari-Matti Latvala went off in 2009 and plunged 200 metres down a hillside.
The accident occurred where a long, fast straight leads into a right corner, then tightens into an immediate left bend.
“Basically it’s quite a tricky place, but most drivers know it from Jari-Matti’s accident,” Tanak told wrc.com. “The notes I think were slightly late and I just couldn’t kill the speed. We hit the bank, and the car rolled about three or four times. The car is badly damaged and we won’t continue tomorrow.”
One consolation for Tanak is that his car stayed on the road, unlike Latvala’s Ford Focus that leapt the crash barrier and barrel rolled 12 times on its descent.
“Of course its disappointing, because we were doing quite a good event up to then. We were trying to prove our speed, so it’s not very nice to give it away like this. I had a good feeling in the car. But we need to remember that this is only my third WRC rally with my new co-driver Raigo [Molder] so we need to learn.
“Overall I think the speed was good but the next issue is to keep the speed but also finish the rallies without any mistakes, that’s the plan.”
Tanak will return on the next round in Argentina, where he will drive a Fiesta R5.