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WRC Rally Chile

Loubet explains frightening WRC Rally Chile exit

Pierre-Louis Loubet has explained what led to a huge accident at Rally Chile that has forced M-Sport to retire his Ford Puma from the World Rally Championship event.

After an impressive start to the rally, Loubet was sitting fourth heading into stage three when he went off the road at high-speed.

The Frenchman appeared to carry too much speed into a right-hand corner which resulted in his car being sent into a frightening series of rolls, before coming to rest on its roof. Loubet and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul luckily emerged from the wreckage without injury.

“Unfortunately on a very fast section, maybe we did not understand something with Nicolas and we did a mistake, and unfortunately there was a big crash,” said Loubet.

“The pacenote was fine, I think it was more the moment and everything around the pacenote.

“[The rally] was going well. We were leading the stages also, so everything was looking pretty good and I had no moments and I felt good in the car.

“I didn’t feel like I was over pushing, so it is big disappointment as it was not a proper mistake. I think it was something we need to check to make sure that will not happen again.

 

“This season has been very tough for me and the team. Today we showed that if we have had a bad championship we still have pace, but unfortunately it has finished in a bad way.

“It has happened to other drivers in the past and we need to continue to push and believe, I’m sure that will pay. It has been a hard season, but it is part of the work.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet, Nicolas Gilsoul, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Pierre-Louis Loubet, Nicolas Gilsoul, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

The accident is the latest of a run of misfortune that has seen Loubet crash out of Rally Finland, while a water pump failure put him out of Greece after completing only one stage.

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener has confirmed that the team won’t attempt to repair the car to allow Loubet to rejoin the rally.

“We have already made the decision that we won’t be repairing the car, it is too much work for unfortunately for not enough reward," said Millener.

“I appreciate that is sad for people that have come to see these cars, but we have got be conscious of us as a team and the budgets we have for the rest of the season.

“There is no difference for us to try and repair that car to something that will be useable to go back out. Unfortunately, it is long way to come to do not a lot of rallying.

“I think Pierre and Nico will have a debrief to see what has happened, as it seems to be there was no technical issue so they need to understand why they have had the accident.

“The main thing is they are both okay, as it was a big accident.”

While Loubet's accident dampened M-Sport’s day, the team will head into Saturday with its number one driver Ott Tanak leading the rally by 4.2s from Hyundai’s Teemu Suninen.

"I’m obviously very happy [to be leading] but we still have a day and half of rallying to go," added Millener.

"Ott has done a fantastic job and we know that he is not 100% conformable in the car on gravel, but it just goes to show what a good driver he is and how strong he can be when everything is working okay for him.

"We have had some really good times and we have said all year that the car can be competitive on all surfaces and that has been shown today." 

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