WRC Driver Flips Rally Car End Over End Just Before Finish Line
That’s gotta hurt, in more ways than one.
Jumping a rally car in a video game is easy—just point and shoot. None of those pesky G-forces or landing calculations to deal with, thankfully. But successfully jumping a rally car in real life? Not so simple, as World Rally Championship-2 driver Quentin Gilbert demonstrated by over-rotating and crashing on the famous Fafe jump just before the finish line at this weekend's Rally Portugal.
Gilbert and his co-driver Renaud Jamoul were on track for a podium finish as they neared the end of the 16th of 19 stages on Sunday. But first they'd have to take on the Fafe, a huge jump that has produced some of rally racing's most iconic images. Its location just a hundred meters or so from the end actually gives drivers a glimpse of the finish line as they're soaring through the air, and unfortunately that's as close as Gilbert's Skoda Fabia R5 would get.
Iconic status notwithstanding, the Fafe is a bastard of a jump for WRC drivers. It has a completely blind approach—as Thierry Neuville put it last year, all you can do is "hope you are more or less in a good direction, and you hope to see the road quickly again." On top of that, the downhill landing zone requires drivers to back off the throttle slightly in midair to rotate the car forwards and match the angle of the ground on the other side.
It looks like Gilbert lifted just a little too much, causing the Skoda to over-rotate, land nose-down in the dirt, and flip end-over-end a few times before coming to rest in a cloud of dust. Thankfully Gilbert and Jamoul were uninjured, but their frustration was clear from the moment they stepped out of the wreckage.