MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// WRC WEDNESDAY /// THE DEFLATION OF HAVING IT & LOSING IT: THE STORY OF SECOND & THIRD IN ONE INTENSE SHOT, AUSTRALIA 2013 /// 3.9.2014…

During the final stage of Coates Hire Rally Australia 2013, a mystery puncture caused Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and (co-driver) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN) to lose second place to Qatar WRT’s Thierry Neuville (BEL) and (co-driver) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL).  Because, in the World Rally Championship, nothing is assured or safe until every competitor is through every stage and every car has passed scrutineering.  No one is quite sure what it was that Hirvonen and Lehtinen’s DS3 hit to cause the damage which would drop them a podium spot.  Or, even more mysteriously, how one other car, the Polo R WRC of Volkswagen’s Jerry Matt Latvala (FIN) and (co-driver) Miikka Anttila (FIN), experienced the exact (same) damage, yet no other crews reported so much as an odd bump or remote concern.  But, whatever happened and however it happened, it was (literally and figuratively) a massive blow for the Citroën Finns (and, for Volkswagen winners Sébastien Ogier-FRA and Julien Ingrassia-FRA, who would have taken their Championships home that day, had Neuville and Gilsoul remained in third, and for Latvala and Anttila, who were in a close battle for Championship second with the Belgians).  And, as honest Scandinavians, they were not about to try to hide the disappointment in their intense Nordic eyes.

(a shot of metaphor: lehtinen & hirvonen watch as second-place passes them by /// 2013 rally australia /// courtesy of best of rally live on flickr)

(a shot of metaphor: lehtinen & hirvonen watch as second-place passes them by /// 2013 rally australia /// courtesy of best of rally live on flickr)

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