Rally drivers and co-drivers do have the best jobs in the world, no doubt about that, but that job comes with a risk and sometimes a price. You do get to see and feel everything first hand, and nothing anyone writes or films can actually really compare to the real deal, especially if you are competing in top rallying series such as WRC. Despite all the safety precautions and equipment, your body is still prone to huge stress and with that injuries are always possible. No matter how tight you strap yourself in, paying special (!!!) attention to the all important “balls buckle”, some shocks you simply cannot prevent or compensate for, particularly in an event such as Rally Finland, with its countless jumps and crests. One (or more) such shocks played a role in forcing the Volkswagen Motorsport crew of Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula out of the Rallye Deutschland before the event even got underway.
During Rally Finland, Markkula complained of back problems, but those were dismissed, especially because they retreated after the rally. However, as soon as the recce started in Germany, Mikko again felt the pain and went for a more thorough medical check, only to find out about the two broken vertebrae. How did it happen, he does not know, but regardless, the German rally is over for the Norwegian-Finnish duo. Which is a shame, because both could use a competitive mileage on the tarmac.
“I suffered severe back pains on the Sunday of the Rally Finland. We assumed it was muscular tension. The pain eased off after the rally, just as the doctors had said it would. However, it has returned over the past few days and I went to see Dr. Johannes Peil on Tuesday evening for a more accurate MRI scan. It was then that we determined I had fractured the two vertebrae. Nobody had considered that possibility, and it was obviously a shock because it meant we would have to withdraw from the rally at the last minute. We are really disappointed. I also feel sorry for the team, for whom we wanted to get a good result at our home rally. I am now hoping to get back to full fitness as soon as possible.”[/quote]