Here I am, staring at a blank page, trying to come up with first sentence of this post. How do you describe what happened to Jari-Matti Latvala without sounding either too defensive or too harsh? I don’t even think it’s possible anymore. Some of the accidents could be attributed to bad luck, that’s for sure, but with so many of them in the last season and a half, excuses mean very little. The place where these two drivers went off the road looks as slippery as a well oiled bureaucrat, and only the angle of the hit decided who walked away and who (later) didn’t.
This time at least Latvala was in a big fight for the lead with Thierry Neuville, and the Belgian slid off into a crash on the same spot as Latvala, but that’s nothing more than a small consolation. The fact is Jari-Matti had the victory or podium within his grasp and he got caught out by the tricky conditions on today’s slippery stages. I do believe he will be back tomorrow as a rally2 competitor, and can maybe even hope for some points, but it’s another hugely bitter disappointment for the Finn.
Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville was a wee bit more
careful lucky than Latvala, and he escaped with only some injuries to the car. It was enough to relinquish the lead to Dani Sordo, but with only 0.8 seconds separating them, the show is far from over. Last stage of the day was cancelled due to a tragic accident in support class of historic cars, so Neuville did not have to run through Panzerplatte with the damaged car. Almost minute and a half behind Sordo is Mikko Hirvonen in third place.
Mads Ostberg was also doing his thing today – he went off the road and out of the rally for the day. Together with Evgeny Novikov and Jari-Matti Latvala, Ostberg should hit the bars after the event and try to drown the blues in the booze.
Two runs over Dhrontal stage are on the menu tomorrow, one of which is also a power stage. Can Sordo hold on to his miniscule lead?