Strange things often happen in rallying, but while drivers might expect to see a bit of local wildlife getting in the way during a stage, seeing a tractor casually driving along the stage is slightly more unusual.
That’s what happened to Hyundai WRC driver Andreas Mikkelsen. Approaching a chicane, he spotted the tractor and then passed it with relative ease. However, the unexpected sight of it on the stage messed with his head. “I braked for the chicane and I did the chicane and then I passed the tractor and it was still going,” he explained. “I said, ‘what the f
*** is this, shall we stop and tell the marshals’? [Co-driver] Anders [Jaeger] told me to keep going but just after that there was a left over a crest, which I didn’t really get [the pace note], and then we were too fast and then we rolled.”
His concern over the safety of the stage distracted him enough to put him out of the rally. Mikkelsen called on organisers to ensure this sort of thing never happens again - after all, if he or anyone else had hit the tractor, it could have been a very nasty incident.
According to the organisers, the tractor had entered the stage “without authority” to go and move some of the hay bales in the chicane that had been dislodged by another car.