Pierre-Louis Loubet has explained exactly what happened in his early exit from Rally México on Friday’s opening stage.
M-Sport’s weekend quickly fell apart on SS3, when its rally and championship leader Ott Tänak suffered a turbo failure shortly before Loubet was caught on the TV cameras clambering out of his Puma Rally1.
From the onboards it looked like he had clipped a rock on the right-hand side, damaging the car and sending him into a spin.
But Loubet says the obstacle he struck was actually in the middle of the road.
“I think a rock, but under [the car], because it was in the middle of the car,” he told DirtFish, “it was not a wheel touch or something like that. I didn’t lose any wheel.”
Loubet has not competed on this rally before, and after Thursday night’s stages in Guanajuato he was sitting in eighth.
M-Sport team principal, Richard Millener, hopes Loubet can bounce back quickly from this mishap in what is his first full-time season in the World Rally Championship’s top class.
“Certainly not something he would have wanted or us, but it was always going to be tough this season, it’s always the same,” Millener explained.
“I think I said it last year that when you go from part season to full season, the pressure builds and when it’s not going your way, it seems like nothing’s going your way, but you’ve just got to fight through those tough times and come out the other side.
“He also can still get a reasonable result and he’s got to use this event to just learn to deal with disappointments and go from there.”