Unlike other forms of motorsport, rallies often have routes that include public roads. That often means there's little to no runoff on the side of the road, so a driver and co-driver need to trust that the pace notes are precise and the driver won't exceed the limit. Still, things will go wrong. And when they do, they can go very wrong. For example, this Skoda Fabia RS slid into an Austrian swimming pool.
Driver Johannes Keferböck and co-driver Ilka Minor were competing in the 2024 Jännerrallye in northern Austria. Keferböck was on a snowy downhill run into a lefthander when things went awry. The sub-optimal conditions combined with speed and perhaps a bit of late braking and maybe some ice saw the Skoda go straight instead of making the corner, and with some very watery consequences.
From a brief glance at the Jännerrallye's stages, which had a mix of dirt and asphalt, it's not all that shocking that a car ended up in this pool. A wood fence is the only barrier between the road and the water, it's a few feet off the course, and it's at the bottom of a fast hill and heavy braking zone. When you add the slick conditions, well, if it wasn't this Skoda, it probably would've been a different rally car.
The car was fully submerged, but Keferböck and Minor were able to exit safely. There are no reports of them suffering any injuries.
The car's fate is less clear. Since it only hit a wood fence, the body shouldn't have taken much damage. That said, no matter how tough a rally car is, it's not meant to be fully submerged. The wiring is surely damaged, if not destroyed. Mechanical damage is also likely, too, since the car was running when it hit the water. And even if it wasn't, none of those parts are meant to be in a pool at any time. So, if you see a cut price Fabia RS in the future, make sure to check that it has no history of water damage before pulling the trigger.