Hänninen feared rally was over after off
"We were lucky to hit a tree really because we could have gone into a ditch"
Juho Hänninen has revealed he thought his Barum Czech Rally Zlín was over when he lost control of his Škoda Fabia Super 2000 Facelift on the fifth stage of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier.
The IRC title-leader had closed to within one second of rally pacesetter Jan Kopecký when he spun off on a left-hander just after the halfway mark. After charging backwards through a field he struck a tree, which inflicted substantial cosmetic damage to the rear of his car.
“It was in a narrow part, downhill,” said the Finn. “We were in fifth gear and just got caught out on some gravel and mud on the road. We went backwards into a forest and we were lucky to hit a tree really because we could have gone into a ditch. I really thought my rally was over.”
Hänninen’s moment dropped him to fourth, 30.2s off the lead.