M-Sport Ford’s Pierre-Louis Loubet has explained that a broken water pump, coupled with a fuel issue, is what forced him out of the Monte Carlo Rally with two stages remaining.
Contesting just his second ever Monte as he embarked upon his first full-time World Rally Championship season, Loubet had climbed to seventh overall on Friday morning before his weekend had its first major setback with broken power-steering.
Bravely, Loubet carried the issue for three stages in the afternoon with no service opportunity available to fix it, but then crashed on the final corner of Saturday’s first stage when he was caught out on ice and slid into the side of a bridge.
That forced him to retire, but Loubet re-emerged on Sunday morning only to contest the first stage without a handbrake.
A call to his engineer fixed that problem for the next stage but there was a reported water leak underneath his Puma Rally1 at the end of the test, and that ultimately spelled disaster.
Loubet parked up on his way to the final stage and attempted to fix his car, but it was to no avail as he and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul ran out of time to make the start of the stage.
Loubet has now confirmed what forced him out of the rally.
“The pipe of the water pump broke, we don’t know how and why, that was very big bad luck,” he said.
“To find the issue took 25 minutes and after that we had a fuel issue, so… I think we had the potential to be very fast this weekend, so I’m very disappointed.”
Loubet was at least able to find positives in his speed and his collaboration with Gilsoul, which he described as “very, very good”.
“He’s really strong so I’m very happy,” Loubet said.
“I think about the philosophy, don’t give up also, so he’s better than me at being a mechanic! That I know now because he found the pipe and that was great for me and honestly he pushed very hard.
“I’m very happy that he is with me but for sure we are a bit disappointed because it was the very first time for us in the stages and the times were with the guys who did the rally last year, so that means on the second pass we were able to be much faster.
“But it’s part of the game.”