Heartbreak for Dale on works debut

British Super 1600 champion Justin Dale has suffered a heartbreaking retirement on his debut for Mitsubishi, being forced out of the Rally of Great Britain after only three stages

Heartbreak for Dale on works debut

The Briton damaged his car after crashing on the second stage of the rally. Although Mitsubishi mechanics were confident that they could repair the damage, FIA scrutineers discovered a rupture in the cars roll cage tubes, and withdrew the car from the event.

Andrew Bargery, Dale's co-driver, recalled the crash. "Approaching a left-hand bend in sixth gear, Justin was suddenly momentarily blinded by the low sun," he said. "By the time he'd recovered, we had missed the breaking point and it was too late to turn in for the corner. The car went straight on, and the right front dug into a ditch and we rolled right over."

Dale had received a last minute call up to drive for the works Mitsubishi team after Alister McRae was declared unfit to drive. It was Dale's first works WRC outing, and he was distraught that it had ended so soon. "I'm absolutely devastated," he said. "We came here to get the car to the finish, and we haven't even finished the first section."

Despite the crash, the Mitsubishi team had been impressed with the stand-in driver. "I'm just very, very, disappointed for Justin and the team, but rallying is rallying" said Derek Dauncey, Mitsubishi Ralliart team manager. "Justin has acquitted himself very well over the past few days. Up until his accident, his split times on today's stages were on a par with [team-mates] Francois [Delecour] and Jani [Paasonen], so he shows great promise."

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