Pace notes caused Ogier crash

Sébastien Ogier blamed a pace note error during the recce for last weekend’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal crash which cost him the FIA World Rally Championship lead.

He retired after damaging his Ford Fiesta against a tree stump in the second pass through the Viana do Castelo speed test. Broken suspension sent him slithering into the trees at the next corner and he retired from the leg.

“Rather than being a driving error, it was a mistake in the pace notes. I had never seen that little tree root hidden in the bank on the inside of the bend. A few centimetres difference in my line were enough to let me find out it was there and it broke a wishbone,” Ogier said.

“Two or three centimetres line difference made me stop and the rest of the weekend was just useless because there was nothing we could do, nothing we could recover. Even in the Power Stage our starting position did not give us the chance to get any points.

“It’s never fun to do that especially when you know we had the package. The Fiesta plus us this weekend had the speed to win this event. Some weekends it happens and you have to just turn the page and go to the next one.”

After starting the dirt road encounter with a 10-point championship lead, Ogier left Portugal trailing event winner Thierry Neuville by 19 points. The disgruntled Frenchman promised a fresh start at next month’s Rally Italia Sardegna (7 - 10 June).

“I’m going to sleep well, go home and I will disconnect with rallying again. I’ll be back in two weeks and I’m sure we’ll be strong again,” he added.

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