Lehtinen takes blame for Hirvonen crash
Incomplete pace note led to high-speed roll
Mikko Hirvonen has revealed that an incomplete pace note from co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen was to blame for the huge crash that took them out of Wales Rally GB today.
The Citroen Total Abu Dhabi team duo were placed fourth after Friday’s second stage, but crashed heavily near the end of the third, the 32km Myherin.
“Unfortunately, Jarmo made a small mistake this time,” Hirvonen told wrc.com. “It was a flat-right, tightens to fifth gear corner and he never finished the note, so I just kept sixth gear, flat out, and then it was too late. It was quite a big accident.”
The car slid wide, then flipped upside down before hitting a roadside bank windscreen first, which scooped masses of mud and debris into the cockpit. Fortunately neither driver was injured.
“I had stones and mud thrown straight onto my face,” said Hirvonen. “The car is completely full of mud, I think there is more inside than there is outside.”
Lehtinen has co-driven Hirvonen since the pair made their WRC debut in 2002 and took full responsibility for the error.
“It was completely my mistake, I lost my words,” he said. “It was a long, long, flat right hander, tightening into something slower and I read the long right tightening but I never read the end - somehow. I didn’t manage to speak clearly enough so he missed the pace note. It was a big, big roll. I’m not feeling very satisfied at the moment.”
Lehtinen said a decision about restarting on Saturday could be made only after a thorough inspection back at the Citroen service area.
“There is a truckload of mud inside, so it’s difficult to estimate how badly the car is damaged. We need to clear it up a bit and then have a look.”
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