Swiss bridge dashes Hirschi’s ERC hopes of a podium
Jonathan Hirschi had warned that the morning loop of stages on the Rallye International du Valais can be more tricky than expected, and the top seeded Swiss driver almost came to grief himself, after hitting a bridge on SS6.
He had to stop to replace a broken wheel, but the Peugeot 208 T16 driver was able to continue – unlike the zero car and Miroslav Jakeš (Citroën DS3 R5) who hit the same bridge.
“The morning was more difficult than we expected, we knew it was tricky,” said Hirschi. “We set off at a normal pace, the first two stages were okay. We are doing well although we still lacked a little something to be with the three guys ahead. In the third stage there is a well-known place, I slowed down quite a lot. The car slid wide, I pulled the handbrake and only broke a rear wheel. We could have retired, we were lucky to lose two minutes and still be in the rally.”
Bruno Magalhães (Peugeot 208 T16) also hit the same bridge, but was able to continue.
“I did not have the information in my pace notes as gravel crews are not allowed,” said the Portuguese ace. “When I did the left hand corner and tried to brake there was absolutely no grip and nothing to do. So I touched with the front and the rear.”