Recently, the World Rally Championship voted this as the absolute most epic jump of the 2018 WRC season. A decision that was met with a collective “meh” in the driving.ca office.
Don’t get me wrong, to simply shrug our shoulders at drivers who possess more competitive talent that our weak arses combined is more than a little rich. Problem is, Thierry Neuville’s effort does pale somewhat compared to some of the other mental rally jumps we’ve stumbled across on-line…
- Check out the original post on driving.ca HERE
Fernando Zuasnabar – Rally Santa Cruz 2016
Might as well kick things off with an example of the Grim Reaper completely phoning it in on 27 August 2016.
The above incident was shot on day one of the 2016 Rally Santa Cruz in 2016, the penultimate round of South America’s FIA CODASUR Rally Championship. Unaware that a dog has blissfully wondered onto the stage in front of him, Uruguayan Fernando Zuasnabar, alongside co-driver Martin Rodriguez, keeps his right foot buried in the #5 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX as he exits a long sweeping left-hander and prepares for the upcoming jump. Somehow, the stars align and all blessings are accounted for as the Evo goes airborne right over the top of the perplexed pottering pooch, avoiding what could have been a very graphic accident.
Unfortunately both Zuasnabar and Rodriguez seemed to have used up their quota of luck on this stage, as the Mitsubishi would later retire from the event with accident damage, the pair walking away from their first combined CODASUR Rally Championship campaign with just two points-paying finishes.
Oleksandr Saliuk Jr. – Rally Turkey 2010
Fun fact, this utterly mental classic from Ukranian privateer Oleksandr Saliuk Jr. is one of two famous jumps from Rally Turkey 2010. Erstwhile champion Sébastien Loeb, en-route to his third win of the season in the Citroën C4 WRC, completed SS20 with a jump estimated to be 85 metres long, an achievement many consider the largest in World Rally Championship history, although this has never been officially confirmed (would you stand in front of a 320-hp Citroen on its way to 200kph with a measuring tape?).
Saliuk’s jump though is easily the most infamous of the two as the five-time Ukrainian Rally Champion manages to land all 1,230kg of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX on the driver’s side Pirelli, shattering the suspension and ripping the pace notes from co-driver Alex Mochanov’s hands simultaneously. The impact was so heavy in fact that it rattled the right rear wheel completely free from its axle, sending it down the hill and perilously close to an event photographer. Unsurprisingly, the #62 Evo IX is out on the spot.
Interesting foot note, Rally Turkey was in fact Saliuk’s WRC debut, and while it would be his only series outing of 2010, he would return in the Ascania Racing-entered Lancer for six more series outings the following year in the junior Production World Rally Championship. He would also go on to win the FIA European Rally Cup outright in 2013.
Evgeny Novikov – Rally Finland 2009
Stage 14 of Rally Finland 2009, and the moment Citroën Junior driver Evgeny Novikov discovered that his C4 WRC, like the Renault Mégane, had quite a fat arse.
The Russian’s first (part) season as a factory driver had not been going particularly well as the WRC circus landed in Jyvaskyla. From his first six rallies that year, Novikov had taken points only once, had DNF-ed twice, and was fighting for his seat against future six-time World Champions, Sebastien Ogier. Ouch!
To make matters worse, a heavy shunt on the opening day meant the Citroën Junior driver was already six minutes-plus-change behind the leader. Keen to make up lost ground and drag himself back into the Top 10, Novikov took a jump on SS14 a little too vigorously, the full-throttle assault sending the nose of his Citroën C4 WRC skywards and the exhaust pipes ground-wards at a frightening pace. Sadly, and even after their lucky escape, Novikov and co-driver Dale Moscatt wouldn’t even make it to the end of the stage, a heavy accident just a few moments later ending their rally altogether. You can check out the on-board footage of both incidents HERE at 3m 30s and 9m 20s.
Ironically, his jump in 2009 wouldn’t be the last time Novikov got into hot water in Finland. In 2013, the Russian came a cropper on SS8, crumpling the front of his Ford Fiesta RS and being forced to complete the stage with the bonnet completely obstructing his windshield.
Colin McRae – Rally Australia 1997
What, you seriously thought the most charismatic driver to ever claim the World Rally Championship wouldn’t make an appearance on this list? Whatever you might think of 1995 champ Colin McRae, he doesn’t disappoint here.
This sideways bollock-shriveller took place through Rally Australia’s famous Bunnings Jumps in 1997, and while the 555 Subaru’s initial launch is impressive enough, it’s the second launch that’s particularly nerve-jangling, given that the Impreza WRC lands almost all of its weight on the driver’s side wheel, sending the rear end into an almighty tanker slapper. We would not blame the photographers standing just a few metres away from filling their pants just before they were enveloped by dust
Amazingly, McRae and co-driver Nicky Grist would not only survive the sideways landing but go on to win Rally Australia, their fourth win of the ’97 season and their second in succession. The Scot would ultimately fall just a single point short of the ’97 crown though having retired from four events on the bounce during the summer.
Andreas Mikkelsen – Rallye Deutschland 2014
Now THAT is a save! Andreas Mikkelsen stamped his badass card yet further at the end of SS8 on Rally Germany in 2014 by referring to the above tank-slapper in his Polo R WRC as a “small moment”. It’s the kind of car control most of us look upon and weep.
Somewhat fittingly, having survived this moment, Mikkelsen would go on to finish 3rd. It would be the only time all season in which the Norwegian finished in front of Volkswagen teammates Sébastien Ogier and Jari Matti-Latvala, both of whom succumbed to accident damage on SS8 and SS15 respectively. Just over a year later, Mikkelsen would take his first WRC win in Spain.
Fun fact, two of the 18 stages on Rally Germany in 2014 were won by recently confirmed Williams Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica during the Pole’s season in the M-Sport World Rally Team-entered Ford Fiesta RS.