Vancouver, April 12, 2003 -- Pat Richard and the Subaru Rally Team Canada are out of the 2003 Propecia Rally New Zealand. Pat Richard and co-driver Mikael Johansson were sidelined in the Rally New Zealand on the first day of the event when their...
Vancouver, April 12, 2003 -- Pat Richard and the Subaru Rally Team Canada are out of the 2003 Propecia Rally New Zealand.
Pat Richard and co-driver Mikael Johansson were sidelined in the Rally New Zealand on the first day of the event when their car left the road and slid down a bank just 4km from completing the third stage. Both were uninjured in the incident but the car suffered significant damage.
"It was a shame for the Team," said Richard, "Everyone put in a great effort preparing for this race and we were running up there with the leaders early, so its very disappointing to go off after only 3 stages."
The accident happened at a very difficult and famous corner that has claimed many notable rally names in the past including world champion Carlos Sainz a few years ago, and Marko Martin during last year's event. "It comes after a fast 4th gear corner that opens up and goes into a tight left, very tricky and the speed going into that section is very deceiving," noted Richard. "It caught us up and off we went down the bank".
The New Zealand Rally Production Cup has also claimed hometown favourite Possum Bourne (engine), top Production Group N driver Janusz Kulig (electrical) and 3 other drivers in addition to Richard on the first full day of competition. Currently, Marcus Gronholm of Finland leads the WRC class followed by Richard Burns and Petter Solberg. Toshi Arai of Japan leads the Production Group N category.
For Pat, Mikael, and the Subaru Rally Team Canada, the focus is now on the next WRC event, the Argentina Rally, May 8-11, 2003. "The first year on any circuit is a challenge and I can't let this accident phase me," said Richard, "we've got to keep moving forward. The car is already being repaired and painted and we're getting set for Argentina where the rougher roads should suit my style well."