Loubet explains his Portugal retirement

The M-Sport driver retired within a mile of the finish of Saturday's second stage

WhatsApp Image 2023-05-13 at 10.48.54

Pierre-Louis Loubet has explained the cause of his Rally of Portugal accident which sent him out of Saturday’s running prematurely.

Heading onto the second stage, Loubet – who led the rally after SS1 – found himself in a battle for third with both Esapekka Lappi and Thierry Neuville but had lost some time to the Hyundais on the day’s opening stage.

However just meters away from the finish on the longest stage of the rally – Amarante – the M-Sport driver clipped a tree stump which was sticking out onto the road, sending him across the road and smashing the right-hand side of his Puma Rally1 against an adjacent embankment.

That spelled game over for Loubet with the car unable to continue thanks to the damage he’d picked up.

Speaking to DirtFish shortly after the crash, he explained what had happened.

“Yeah, just the corner before I hit something in the apex and unfortunately that pushed me out of the line and at the exit I touched the wall,” Loubet said.

“So… big damage on the right, unfortunately the damper is out, I think.

“It’s impossible to repair.”

It was an error that came out of nowhere, and when probed on where the mistake came from, Loubet put it down to potentially missing it on the recce and in the pacenotes.

“Yeah, maybe something like that,” he explained.

“It’s strange because I pass here for many times and maybe I wasn’t vigilant enough, but yeah… anyway I was too much on the apex I think.

“For sure it’s a disappointment. But that’s rallying. Unfortunately now it’s a bit like this, so we’ll see what we can do but for sure it’s a big disappointment because everything was going pretty well.”

Words:Adam Proud