UPDATE: According to numerous comments below, and some emails I’ve received, it turns out that this exact spot and the jump were in fact marked in the road book, distance to the jump was noted too. It was not on the road during recce, but organizers supplied enough information for the crews to know where the jump is and to anticipate it. How and why the false information about jump missing from roadbook started, I do not know, but I apologize for riding the band wagon. I am also very thankful for all the comments and clarifications.
You got to see it to believe it – a simple jump platform was put on the road, presumably to produce some exciting and stunning jumps. Because who doesn’t love a jumping rally car, right? Exactly, we all love them. When nature is kind enough, you have a terrain full of natural jumps and crests, such as Rally Finland (aka 1000 Lakes Rally). Deduct 700 lakes, and you end up in Lithuania (near the Latvian border) on 300 Lakes Rally. Apparently, there are no natural crests and jumps there, but fear not, organizers have a brilliant idea.
According to tweets describing this bizarre accident, these platforms became huge hit after this year’s Rally Estonia, and now they’re everywhere. Sponsors are allegedly very keen on these things and I suppose there are company banners around the jumps, to be captured by video and photo cameras.
There is a problem, though. While I have no issues with man made “obstacles” in rallying, from jump ramps to chicanes or other similar ideas, I do believe they should be on the road during recce and crews should be able to see them, drive over them and get at least some insight into what these platforms are all about. I cannot speak with 100% certainty, because I base all this on various tweets by several people, but this particular jump was not on the road during recce and it was not marked in the roadbook.
End results, Renault Twingo, with it’s short wheelbase and light body, ran over the platform after atempted braking, but still very fast. Being very short and steep enough, platform actually did not produce a perfect jump – instead, Twingo’s rear wheels bounced off of it, sending the nose down into the ground. I am also not sure, but from this video it looks like this jump was positioned on a slight uphill section. Which equals stupidity, if true.
UPDATE: Upon more viewing, it looks like they tried to slow down before the jump and actually hit the ramp with the brakes on. Now, basic physics tell us that this will point the nose down, as it happened here, but I can understand the driver’s reaction. He arrived to that spot at full speed and suddenly noticed the ramp right after the small crest. Initial reaction is to try to slow the hell down.
I would love to learn more about this particular jump and whether it was marked in roadbook and available during recce. The driver suffered some injuries, obviously, concussion at least, and had to be hospitalized.
Note to organizers – these are neither spectacular nor fun, especially if you just toss them around on every stage. Either build a proper jump, with proper angle and “landing” area, or move the event to the more varied terrain. Before something really bad happens, which I am sure your sponsors would like to avoid.
Big thanks to Karlip for the initial tweet containing this video. If you know more about this incident, please comment below or tweet about it.
— Karlip (@Karlip1) August 13, 2013