Peta Todd and Tony Jardine quickly re-found their footing on second day of Wales Rally GB.
ProSpeed mechanics miraculously repaired the car with moments to spare before disqualification.
Todd and Jardine closed the gap on cars in front despite dreadful afternoon fortune.
After suffering a disappointing end to the first competitive day of Wales Rally GB, the final round of the World Championship, it was far from certain whether Peta Todd, Help for Heroes patron and former glamour model, would be able to get back into the co-driver’s seat and realise her dream of finishing the rally.
A serious crash in Friday’s stage six had crippled the car and left both Tony and Peta, who were unharmed in the crash, wondering whether their rally would be over so soon. The front wheel and suspension of their PlayStation®4 DRIVECLUB sponsored Mitsubishi Evo IX was completely destroyed and would need to be wholly replaced, along with numerous other components that had to be filed in an MIS insurance accident damage report. It was clear that if Peta and Tony were to re-join the rally on Saturday morning, the ProSpeed engineers would have to work through the night.
Saturday morning started with the bad news that the FIA scrutineers had deemed the car not fit to re-enter unless the team could replace the front wing, headlight assembly and the front right Kumho tyre in the fifteen minute service that signalled the start of the day. Incredibly, the team managed to fulfil all the requirements of the scrutineers, and get the car back in the World Rally action with no time to spare.
Peta and Tony returned to the stages, and appeared to have lost none of their confidence in each other, quickly putting yesterday’s accident out of their mind. The team tackled three stages during the morning, including the Chirk Castle RallyFest stage in front of a large and passionate crowd and a spectacular Tudor-era backdrop.
The lunchtime service was another dramatic one for the ProSpeed team. A crack in the car’s subframe had to be repaired, a difficult job for any team in such a short time. However, once again, there were friends on hand and willing to help. The Nasser Al-Attiyah World Rally Team very kindly helped to ensure that the car was serviced normally, whilst the ProSpeed engineers took on the difficult job of repairing and re-welding the subframe. They did a fantastic job and the car was ready to re-join the action in the nick of time.
The afternoon session did not run anything like as smoothly for Peta and Tony, as they were victim of a number of incidents that cost them time. A puncture in between stages caused major problems for them as they were forced to change the wheel in the dark, and Peta’s head torch was accidentally smashed, making the job extremely difficult for them. To make matters worse, whilst trying to make up for lost time the car got stuck in traffic and was late arriving at a stage, resulting in a penalty.
However, this was not an end to their misfortune for the day. On Peta and Tony’s journey back to the service park in Deeside, the car suffered a wheel bearing failure, which was suspected to have been sustained in the accident the previous day. While such a failure is easily rectifiable, the car had to be recovered by a support team, meaning that they will receive a time penalty ahead of tomorrow.
Tony was left extremely frustrated following another difficult day:
“I’m glad to reach the end of today if I’m honest. Everything that could have gone wrong seems to have done just that. The puncture was extremely unlucky for us, and getting stuck out of position just compounded the problem even further. We’d already had enough problems in the morning with the rebuild, and then having to repair the subframe.
“The aim now is to reach the finish, Peta deserves that. She has been fantastic all week and I’m sorry that I can’t realistically get her a top ten in class result. The fans have been outstanding throughout, they have cheered us on at every stage so far. We hope we can give them more to cheer about tomorrow.”
Heading into the final day, Peta expressed her relief that she had been able to get back into the car and, although they had a difficult day, looks forward to hopefully crossing the line in Llandudno tomorrow:
“Today could have been so much worse for us. Before it even started we knew it was touch and go whether the car would be fixed, and then we were told we had to make major changes to the car in the morning service. So I was very happy to get back in the car and carry on co-driving!
“Lunchtime was a tough service for the team as well, and we weren’t sure if that was game over, but once again they performed the impossible and got us out on stage. That was the start of a really tough afternoon for all of us. We had a lot of problems for the rest of the day. There were a few little errors from Tony and me, and then the puncture seemed to start off a series of problems. I was really concerned when the car stopped because I was worried we might finally have to concede to this brutal rally. But hopefully the team will be able work their magic one more time and get us back out there tomorrow. Everyone has worked so hard, I just want to reward them all by making it to the finish.”