Until the big hit, Suninen was making very good time. The M-Sport team expected to finish the stage in excellent standing and move onto the next with some momentum, Dirtfish reports.
But the crash bent the Ford Fiesta’s rollcage and this particular car and driver will be out of commission at Monte Carlo. Suninen emerged safely after the roll. We can see the driver donning a jacket on the bank and he looks fine, if a little annoyed.
Who wouldn’t be after a hit like that?
Still, the driver is unharmed and serves as a testament to the durability of these rally cars. While the initial bonk on the bank doesn’t look too harsh, that roll and pitch downward looked quite dangerous. A bent cage is just proof that these machines really are outfitted to take some of the hardest hits in motorsport.
The crash is nonetheless a disappointment for the team, and M-Sport’s manager said the following in response to the accident:
“I feel most sorry for the team to be honest, we worked so hard for the last four weeks to come here. We spent four days testing and that’s how we’re rewarded… It’s pretty disappointing really. Great to set that kind of time but the intention was to get two cars to the finish and we’ve not even managed that on one stage. After everything we’ve done to get here, that’s a pretty big kick in the teeth really.”
The M-Sport team has faced setbacks elsewhere, too, as driver Gus Greensmith has had a bad showing at Monte Carlo so far. He finished 11th overall after five stages, per Dirtfish. And it can’t be easy knowing that all the pressure of the event rests on your sole surviving car. It won’t be a pleasant climb back up for the UK team.
But there’s a lot more rally action to come as the 2021 Monte Carlo Rally is off to an eventful start. You can follow along on WRC’s site or on the WRC app. The app’s upgraded version, WRC+, is one of the few apps that Jalops on staff say is worth a sub.