The long and unforgiving Panzerplatte has twice claimed Dani Sordo's MINI John Cooper Works WRC as its victim on day two of Rally Germany.
During the morning run, just a few kilometres into the stage, Sordo suffered a slow puncture. On inspection later, the cause appeared to be impact damage through the tire, splitting the inner rim, not the tire itself.
On the second run through the stage this evening, Sordo lost control of the car pitching himself into first one then a second hinkelstein*, damaging the side and front of the car. The frontal impact punctured the radiator, which lost cooling fluid and sensibly Sordo stopped the engine.
The car is being recovered, but is not expected back in service until 11pm this evening at which point the team will see if it can be repaired to return under Rally2 regulations tomorrow.
Up until his puncture this morning, Sordo had worked his way up to third place from fifth overnight, setting the fastest time on stage eight after mastering the tricky damp conditions with his hard compound Michelin tires. At this point, he was on target for a podium finish, instead changing the wheel cost more than two minutes dropping him back to sixth.
Dave Wilcock, Prodrive WRC Team principal said: "After the real high of the stage win on stage eight we knew Dani could get a podium with the pace he and the car were showing. The unusual nature of the puncture into the rim was so unlucky and we believe if this had not happened he could even have moved into second position.
After losing all this time, our target then was to set fast stage times, which he did, but while pressing on, Dani has been caught out under braking by a sudden change in surface grip, and on Panzerplatte with the large hinkelsteins, such small errors don't go unpunished, as many top drivers have found to their cost today.
"We'll get the car back to service late tonight and see if it can be fixed, so that we can return tomorrow for the three stages, including the points scoring Powerstage in Trier, to give Dani as much competitive mileage ahead of our next event in France."
(*) Hinkelstein is a large concrete block used on this military range to keep tanks on the road.
Source: Prodrive WRC Team