Dani Sordo and Adrien Formaux pulled out of Rally Japan after crashing out of Friday’s first stage.
Dani Sordo and Adrien Fourmaux were caught in torrential conditions on the same corner of Isegami’s Tunnel during the first stage of Rally Japan. It was predicted that there would be heavy rain, and the predicted chaos already came to pass.
Hyundai’s Dani Sordo will not advance past the second stage of Japanese Rally for the second year in a row. This comes after the terrifying fire that consumed the Hyundai driver’s i20 N Rally1 at the end of the Isegami’s Tunnel stage last year forced him to retire.
This time, ironically on the exact same stage Sordo aquaplaned off the road and into a ditch after getting caught in very challenging conditions.
The car that was following him on the road piloted by Adrien Fourmaux, executed precisely the same mistake causing his M-Sport Ford to crash into Sordo’s Hyundai.
The aforementioned right-hander had previously overpowered Takamoto Katsuta who was leading Sordo, who was leading Fourmaux in the running order. Katsuta’s Toyota sustained significant damage up front, but he managed to avoid a crash by giving it a quick spin instead of crashing off the road.
However, Sordo had less luck as he locked his Hyundai’s brakes and tumbled down the bank. Despite their initial appearance on the start list, Sordo has been ruled out while M-Sport’s Rally1 returnee will not be restarting on Saturday morning due to chassis damage.
“I’m really disappointed for myself and the team, but it was really difficult conditions,” Sordo said. “We just missed the braking 11 kilometers into the stage. We started aquaplaning and we went straight on.
“I touched the brakes and one side locked up. We also had some mist on our screen which was a little distracting. Until then we were doing OK in the stage, we were taking no risks, but when you’re aquaplaning you can’t do anything.
“It looks like it was particularly slippery at that section with both Katsuta and Fourmaux also having problems at the same corner.”
Cameras missed Fourmaux’s incident, but the Rally1 returnee met the same end as Sordo and his car came to a stop in exactly the same spot.
Fourmaux was present to provide an explanation of the accident, but Sordo had already been picked up by Hyundai and taken back to service when reporters arrived at the scene.
“We came from a hairpin right, so a slow corner, then there is an easy left and right after the easy left there is the water line because we had really heavy rain and we just aquaplane under the braking,” Fourmaux told DirtFish.
“It was like ice, I couldn’t expect anything, I had no info etc. I can see now that it’s changing really quickly because 20 minutes ago there were two water lines all over the road and now there is nothing, so it changed really quickly depending on the rain.
“And yeah, Dani tried to slow us down but I didn’t see him in the hairpin. I had some fog on the windscreen and he was on the inside, didn’t see him but right after the corner it wasn’t like I was pushing or whatever.
“I just wanted to get through because there was fog on the windscreen so OK I want to finish, but when I hit the brakes the car completely slide.”