Gassner Jr takes positives from tough Rally de Portugal The all-gravel Rally de Portugal, which was only the second outing for Red Bull driver Hermann Gassner Jr on the World Rally Championship this year, ended in disappointment as the...
Gassner Jr takes positives from tough Rally de Portugal
The all-gravel Rally de Portugal, which was only the second outing for Red Bull driver Hermann Gassner Jr on the World Rally Championship this year, ended in disappointment as the 21-year-old was unable to take the start of the final day.
On Saturday's last stage, the German was briefly distracted by some dust and then slid off the road. The car was only lightly damaged, but it was impossible to regain the stage.
The Baumschlager Rallye & Racing team was confident that Gassner's Mitsubishi Lancer E9 could be repaired, but once the car was back in the service area, a very small crack in the rollcage was discovered. This meant that it could not be repaired to the satisfaction of the event scrutineers, so Gassner and his co-driver Katherina Wustenhagen were forced to sit out the final five stages.
"I'm really disappointed as I was so looking forward to completing the rally," said Gassner Jr. "I don't have the chance to drive so much this year so I need to take every opportunity I can get. I'm annoyed with myself for making the mistake, but on the positive side I've learned a lot from competing on these complex gravel stages. We've shown some quite good pace, and I've also had the chance to improve some other aspects of my driving, such as my pacenotes."
Despite his youth and inexperience, Gassner set a number of top five times in the class for conventional Group N cars throughout the rally, beating several more experienced competitors.
His team boss, multiple Austrian rally champion Raimund Baumschlager, added: "This is not the way that we wanted to end the rally, but it's not all negative. What Hermann needs most is some time in the car and here he was able to get that. His times were encouraging, and there is clearly a lot of potential. He also made a few mistakes, but this is all part of the learning process and I am sure he will take a lot away from this event."
Skoda factory driver Juho Hanninen was also competing with BRR on this event, but was forced to stop again this morning after an impact with a rock damaged a wheel on his Skoda Fabia S2000.
Hermann Gassner Jr's next WRC appearance will be the all-asphalt Rallye Deutschland: his home event that takes place from 19-22 August, based in Trier.
-source: red bull