When Luke Barry and Colin Clark caught up with Thierry Neuville after his crash on Saturday’s SS11, the Hyundai driver was slightly at a loss to explain the accident.
His first response was that he’d need to go and look at the video footage and the data to properly examine what had happened.
And now he’s gone over the data, he understands what caused him to lose the rear of his Hyundai i20 N Rally1 and clip a concrete block, sending him out of the rally.
“Yeah, basically I braked slightly late,” Neuville explained to DirtFish.
“I think half a meter, meter would be fine, but I entered in the cut and locked up both inside wheels, so the rear stepped out and it was done.”
Braking half a meter late might not seem like a huge difference to us mere mortals. Think about it practically, and you realize that 50 centimeters is not that much at all.
But when it comes to rallying, that can be the difference between making it through a corner successfully and retiring. It’s all about making measured estimations, trying to hit that left pedal as late as possible but not too late.
And as Neuville explained, sometimes you can get away with it, just this time he didn’t.
“Yeah, I mean that’s part of our job obviously and most of the time it works well,” Neuville said when DirtFish’s Colin Clark reveled in the fact that it’s so phenomenal that rally drivers can regularly pick their braking spot in less than half a meter.
“But sometimes small mistakes with huge consequences.
“Sometimes you get away with it.
“We have seen many drivers hitting barriers and other stuff here yesterday.
“That’s part of the rallying but obviously on an emotional plane it’s very disappointing for us as a team.
“However, we carry on and yeah, the thing we got to take from this weekend is we’ve got to work on the Tarmac performance.
“We are not where we should be and when we are driving on the edge to try to follow up, and keep the others behind, you make some mistakes.”