Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
WRC Rally Italy

Loubet, Katsuta retire from WRC Rally Sardinia

Pierre-Louis Loubet has retired from Rally Sardinia after the M-Sport World Rally Championship team discovered significant damage while trying to repair his Ford Puma overnight.

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

Loubet endured an eventful Friday at the rough gravel event which ultimately ended with a crash on stage seven.

The Frenchman started the day strongly, running as high as third overall after the morning loop.

However, his rally began to unravel when he suffered a gear selection issue at the start of stage five that prevented the 2019 WRC2 champion from starting on time, resulting in a three-minute penalty.

To make matters worse, damaged steering forced him off the road in the final stage of Friday.

M-Sport had hoped to repair the Puma to allow Loubet to re-join the rally on Saturday but the while fixing the car the team discovered more damage than they had originally anticipated.

“Whilst repairing Pierre-Louis’ car after the accident on SS7 yesterday, more damage was discovered than anticipated,” read a statement from the team.

“The team has therefore made the difficult decision to retire the car from the event.”

The retirement marks the fourth non-score from six events for Loubet this season after encountering issues in Monte Carlo, Mexico and Portugal.

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: Red Bull Content Pool

“As always, we were in the game, we could have hoped for a good result this weekend,” said Loubet on Friday night.

“A blocked gearbox, a three minute penalty and then the broken steering. The frustration is huge for me tonight.”

Read Also:

Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier has reclaimed the rally lead from Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi after the first of eight Saturday stages.

Lappi started the morning with a 0.1-second lead over Ogier but the Finn was 1.8s slower than the Frenchman through the 16.28km Coiluna-Loelle test.

"For sure, we need to drive fast. With Lappi there is no gap at all and Thierry is now only 17s behind. We need to drive as fast as possible,” said Ogier.

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville continued to hold third overall, 17.4s back.

There was drama for Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta, who damaged his GR Yaris in a water splash that has required him to pull over on a road section to make repairs before being forced to retire from the day.

 

Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans has leapfrogged Katsuta into fifth spot overall, behind Kalle Rovanpera.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Wrong weather information cost Ogier WRC Sardinia advantage
Next article WRC Sardinia: Ogier reclaims lead from Lappi as water splashes wreak havoc

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe