Heartbreak as Schwedt goes OTL on ERC debut
Roman Schwedt has endured heartbreak Azores Rallye style, running out of time quite literally on his FIA European Rally Championship debut.
The 19-year-old German and co-driver Lina Meter, 20, were eighth in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior category starting Saturday’s final five stages. But a lengthy delay on stage 13 following an off resulted in them arriving at the regroup in Ponta Delgada three minutes beyond the permitted 15 minutes of lateness allowed by the regulations.
After a challenging run in the mud and rain of Graminhais, Schwedt lost time in Tronqueira when he went off the road and hit a tree. Although he was able to continue, there was more woe on Vila Franca – São Bras, as the Team ROMO driver explained.
“This morning was really crazy,” said Schwedt, competing on his first gravel event in a front-wheel-drive car. “We had some really bad luck in the first stage as we couldn’t see anything through the window and in the second one, I made a little mistake and we hit a tree in the front and damaged the car.
“On the stage after this, I’m not on the point [of concentration] and something is damaged, so we slipped off the road and stopped. It was a left corner, there was lots of mud and water. We stopped for too long. Two fans came along and pushed us out but it was too late. We were three minutes too late [for service], so it’s rally over.”