Finnish youngster Jari-Matti Latvala's first tarmac event in the 2003 British Rally Championship came to a sudden end in the Scottish Borders yesterday afternoon, when his Ford Focus left the road, crashing heavily into a wall during the Jim Clark...
Finnish youngster Jari-Matti Latvala's first tarmac event in the 2003 British Rally Championship came to a sudden end in the Scottish Borders yesterday afternoon, when his Ford Focus left the road, crashing heavily into a wall during the Jim Clark Memorial Rally.
"It was very disappointing, as we had had an excellent start to the morning. We worked hard on our tarmac set-up during testing last week and were beginning to reap the benefits, setting faster times than Irish tarmac specialist Andrew Nesbitt," said the 18 year old.
Having worked his way up from twelfth to fourth overall during the first three stages of the day, Jari-Matti says he remembers little of the accident which happened two miles into his second run through special stage six, Kimmerghame.
"It was the worst accident of my career so far and to be honest we were lucky we were in such a strong car as it could easily have been so much worse. I braked and prepared for the corner as normal but lost control of the car under braking on the slippery surface. Everything happened very quickly and its possible there was something on the road - all we could do was brace ourselves as the car went straight for the wall,"
Rescue crews were quickly on the scene, cutting co-driver Carl Williamson from the car. The Welshman suffered pelvic injuries in the accident and is currently in a comfortable condition in Borders General Hospital.
Latvala suffered bruising and shock and after being thoroughly checked by medical staff was discharged from hospital on Saturday evening. He is currently on his way home to Tuuri in Finland where he will undergo physical therapy and light training in preparation for the Exide Rally, a round of the Finnish Championship next weekend.
The crew were not the only ones to have their rally hopes dashed by the stretch of road, as the treacherous conditions also ended the rally for fellow Finn Tapio Laukkanen and Welshman Gwyndaf Evans.