There’s no other way to say it – stage rally can be absolutely brutal. Case-in-point, this head-on crash into a tree that happened over the weekend at Rally Liepāja in Latvia. The event is part of the FIA European Rally Championship, and this particular section on special stage 6 proved to be a bit of a challenge. By that, we mean navigating the long fast right would’ve been a job better suited for something with a rudder instead of a Skoda Fabia R5.
At the controls was driver Bruno Magalhães, with Hugo Magalhães in the co-driver seat. The team was one of several Skoda entries in the rally, with this particular event being the last in the 2017 series. Going into the rally, the Magalhães duo was situated in second place with a shot at claiming the championship; obviously that didn’t happen, but at least both driver and co-driver were okay. That takes on a new level of appreciation when you experience the crash from inside the car.
Conditions were pretty terrible going into the stage, and there was some question as to whether it should’ve even been held. There was also some question as to why this very large water hazard wasn’t identified by race officials prior to the beginning of the stage. According to comments on the video, the pace notes simply read long flat right cut, a turn which would be taken with quite a bit of speed. Had they known a freaking lake formed right at the apex, things likely would’ve turned out very differently. Instead, the duo got a lesson in hydroplaning and a severely busted-up Skoda.
Sure, there are harder impacts in other racing venues. But that doesn’t take away any of the brutality of this headlong crash into a very entrenched tree. We suspect both men are a bit sore after that rather immediate halt, but we’re happy they’re okay and ready to rally another day.