Teemu Suninen’s Monte Carlo Rally is already over after his SS1 crash as the rollcage on his Ford Fiesta WRC is bent.
Suninen was setting an impressive pace on the first stage of the 2021 World Rally Championship season, and was 0.5 seconds up on rally leader Ott Tänak at the final split, before crashing out towards the end of the test.
On the wet asphalt, Suninen’s Fiesta drifted off the line and smacked a bank on the left, pitching the car into a roll and down another bank.
Speaking to WRC All Live reporters at the scene of the accident, Suninen was pessimistic about his chances of restarting the rally before it was confirmed later on Friday that he would indeed take no further part in the season opener.
“Up to this point everything was going well, I had a pretty good feeling with the car and then just on this corner I lost the line and touched the bank and went out and broke the rollcage,” said Suninen. “It’s a shame the season starts like this.”
When asked if the car would be OK to continue on Saturday, Suninen replied: “I don’t think so. I checked, it looks like the rollcage is bent.”
M-Sport team principal Richard Millener was understandably unimpressed with the accident after the team’s herculean effort just to make it to the event.
“Usually I don’t really struggle to sum up the reaction but that is not what we wanted,” he said.
“I feel most sorry for the team to be honest, we worked so hard for the last four weeks to come here.
“We spent four days testing and that’s how we’re rewarded… It’s pretty disappointing really. Great to set that kind of time but the intention was to get two cars to the finish and we’ve not even managed that on one stage.
“After everything we’ve done to get here, that’s a pretty big kick in the teeth really.”
When asked if he knew how badly the car was damaged, Millener added: “Probably the roll wasn’t too bad, it just caught a soft bank and went over, but it depends what tree it hit when it came down the other side to be honest.
“There’s no photos or videos at the minute so I don’t know to be fair but that’s not really what I’m thinking about at the minute, it’s more the fact we’ve spent all that time and effort to get here and we’re not even going to get a stage time.
“I don’t take it away from him he was doing a great job in the stage but we said right before we left here it’s a long rally. But not this time, it’s a short one.”