Fourmaux’s anti-cut pole collision explained

An unexpected balance shift led to an impact that cost him 15 minutes in Croatia

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For a few moments, it looked as if all of Adrien Fourmaux’s good work on Croatia Rally was about to come to nothing.

He’d already banked fifth place in the Friday-Saturday standings, and with it eight provisional championship points. The lead M-Sport driver was looking even stronger on Sunday, running second in the day classification as he approached the latter section of the Zagorska Sela – Kumrovec test.

Then, disaster struck. He hit an anti-cut pole at speed and broke a steering arm on the front-right corner of his Ford Puma. He ran wide at the next corner, limped over the bridge and realized immediately he wasn’t going to get any further.

It was a strange mistake to make; the anti-cut pole’s location was clear as day to see and it wasn’t as if he’d run wide and grazed it; he’d smashed right through it. So how did it happen?

“For sure we were pushing for the Super Sunday [points],” Fourmaux told DirtFish.


In the end Fourmaux scored 13 points, aided by his powerstage win – it could have been 19 had he held on to second position in the Sunday classification

“In one corner, it’s flat on the entry. I had started to turn the car and had some small understeer. But then after, there was like a hill and car unloaded the tires and it turned quicker than I expected.

“I hit [the anti-cut pole] a little bit, but just enough to break the steering arm. So then instead of continuing in the stage and risking crashing somewhere or damaging, we stopped, changing it in the side of the road, and carried on.”

Climbing out of his stricken Puma, there was immediate relief for Fourmaux once he’d taken stock of the damage inflicted on the car: “First, I needed to see and watch what is broken. But when I saw what was broken, I was like: come on, yes! We can continue!”

It wasn’t the most straightforward of repairs. While Fourmaux was carrying a spare steering arm in the back of his car – a spare he regularly carries thanks to he and co-driver Alex Coria being “a light crew,” he very nearly burned himself in the process of fitting the new arm.

“It was not so easy because the bolt was bent, so I was really struggling to remove that. I burned my overalls also with the brakes, but it saved me. At least I’m not burned. It’s warm, it’s over, we did it.

“We took our time because we knew the day was over, so we have just decided, okay, just do it. The team said we were quite quick to change it anyway!”

Words:Alasdair Lindsay & David Evans