Orsica’s reputation is well known in rallying and those 10,000 corners remain one of the World Rally Championship’s most enduring challenges. I was delighted to have the opportunity to co-drive Abu Dhabi Racing driver Mohamed Al Mutawaa on such an iconic
Unfortunately, things didn’t go exactly as we’d hoped. Everything was good in the lead up to the event; the recce was a real eyeopener, I don’t think I’ve ever written as much in such a short space of time! Honestly, I didn’t have the chance to look up for about six miles in one stage – best not ask me what the Corsican countryside looks like!
The first day was tough for Mo after we suffered a powersteering problem on the DS 3 R3T. Without mid-day service, he did really well to drive around the issue. About 12 miles into the first Saturday stage, Mo went for the brakes, but his foot went to the floor. The car spun and clipped a bank, which pitched us into a roll. We went over three or four times down the road before the car dropped down a bank.
It was a pretty scary feeling when it dropped off the road – you immediately wonder how far it’s going to roll. Fortunately we stopped against a tree on my side. We were both out of the car fairly sharpish, which was just as well because it caught fire soon after.
We grabbed our extinguisher, then took a couple more from the next cars along, but there was nothing we could do. Once it caught, it took a fire engine to put it out. Remembering what happened on this island 30 years ago, it was a fairly horrible experience watching the rally car burn. Both Mo and I were fully aware of how much worse it could have been.
Despite the way the event ended, it was a real privilege to work with Mo and a team as professional as Abu Dhabi Racing.
There’s really not much time for me to catch my breath in October. From Corsica I’m home for a day before flying to San Marino for the Rallylegend with Alister Mcrae. We’re using a Subaru Legacy Colin drove during his career – can you imagine that? What a massive honour that is for me as a Scotsman and co-driver.
The week after that it’s Mull with John Maccrone and, as MN readers, you’ll know how much everybody looks forward to that classic rally.