Drivers question use of man-made Estonia jumps

The Otepää stage on Saturday morning caused a number of drivers discomfort


Elfyn Evans smiled a wry smile. Asking the Welshman about jumps in Estonia is never the best idea.

Four years ago, Evans suffered two compression fractures when his Ford Fiesta WRC landed awkwardly – he missed the ensuing rallies in Finland, Germany and Turkey.

Two years ago, it was a similar story for Dan Barritt, then Takamoto Katsuta’s co-driver. The Toyota was forced to retire from third place with Barritt unable to continue.

The Estonia jump debate was re-opened on Saturday morning when numerous drivers complained about what they felt were unnecessarily punishing man-made jumps.

Briton Gus Greensmith was winded three times on the first run through Otepää – heavy landings are not the thing the Škoda driver wants after being hospitalised with a back injury and collapsed lung in Sardinia.

He told DirtFish: “I didn’t wind myself massively. It wasn’t like where you can’t move or anything. It’s like half-winded when you’re just like trying to get your breath back.

“But, for sure, it hurts. My back’s feeling a lot worse now than it was doing this morning, because of the second stage. The jumps are just so sharp and such flat, hard landings.”

Asked if he felt the jumps added anything, Evans replied: “Yeah, neck pain…

“There are so many of them and they’re so sharp – you tend to go high and come down hard.”

Home driver Ott Tänak labelled the Otepää test “quite a terrible stage” becasue of the jumps.

“From one ski jump to another ski jump, it’s just a massive pain to survive,” he said. “Not a nice one at all.”