Sébastien Loeb has explained there was “less grip than I expected” at the corner that ultimately claimed him on Rally Portugal.
Loeb had taken the lead of the fourth round of the World Rally Championship from Elfyn Evans by 0.5 seconds ahead of Friday’s remote fitting tire zone, but it wouldn’t last long.
On the very first corner of the afternoon loop, Loeb’s M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 ran wide and clouted a wall on the outside of an asphalt bend, immediately destroying the rear-right corner.
Loeb limped on round another few corners before pulling over and into retirement.
DirtFish caught up with Loeb at the scene of the accident.
“First corner [there was] less grip than I expected on Tarmac with the hard tire or maybe with the dust and the gravel that came since the morning, so I enter into the corner, slide immediately, missed a bit the apex and I think I went into the loose gravel and hit a little bit the wall,” Loeb explained.
“I understood immediately after 20 meters that it’s broken.”
It was quite the comedown from his Monte Carlo Rally victory back in January, but Loeb was at least satisfied to have been leading the rally.
“It was a good morning, eh? I was happy that we were leading after the first loop, we didn’t really expect [to do] so well but then OK, that’s how it is.”