Green APU American Rally Association front runner Patrick Gruszka has been forced out of this weekend’s Oregon Trail Rally after his team’s trailer caught fire on the way home from the DirtFish Olympus Rally.
The Chicago-based driver’s Hyundai i20 R5 was unharmed in the incident, but with no way of transporting the car and the team to Oregon, he was forced to withdraw.
“It was a pretty serious situation for a while,” Gruszka told DirtFish. “Fortunately the [truck] driver saw the flames in the mirror and was able to stop and get the fire out in a couple of minutes. We can see the flames came close to the rally car, but the car’s absolutely fine.
“We believe it was a problem with one of the axles on the trailer, we’re not absolutely sure – but we do know it’s going to take a while to fix it. Originally, we were told it would be three months, but we made it clear we have to be out in time for Southern Ohio next month.”
With Tom Williams also missing from Oregon, Gruszka’s relaxed about the points situation.
“It’s not going to affect us,” he said. “And we’ll be back for Ohio. It looks like the competition is going to be tough there – there’s a Škoda Fabia Rally2 coming out, that’ll be the first time I’ve seen one of those. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes against our car.
“It’s a shame, it would have been good to be in Oregon, but the main thing is that nobody was hurt and the car’s fine. We’ll get the trailer fixed and be back for the next one.”