Rally Car Ends Up in a Lake, Crew Remains Incredibly Calm Through It All

Racing involves a certain amount of risk, and rallying takes things further, as it involves driving at high speeds in areas that are not prepared for that kind of thing, just closed off to normal traffic.
Subaru Impreza rally car as it enters a lake 6 photos
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube video by Steven Harell rally co-driver
Subaru Impreza rally car as it enters a lakeSubaru Impreza rally car as it enters a lakeSubaru Impreza rally car as it enters a lakeSubaru Impreza rally car as it enters a lakeSubaru Impreza rally car as it enters a lake
Therefore, accidents in rallying tend to be more spectacular than those on the track, mostly because you see relatively familiar scenery and a production-based race car speeding through it.

Last weekend, at the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Minnesota, a rally crew ended up in a lake. The action was caught on camera, and it goes to show just the right amount of calm to deal with situations like these. The crew in question would have its third outing together at this rally, and it involved driver Mark Williams and co-driver Steven Harrell.

As the co-driver noted on his Facebook page, things did not go their way from the beginning. At first, during the third stage of the rally, they lost the intercom system, which meant that the co-driver had to deploy hand signals to inform the driver of upcoming turns.

This went on for two stages, and they concluded the first day with a failure in the brake assembly that made the team's mechanics work through the night to repair it.

Things did not improve on the second day, as the crew found damp gravel in an area next to a lake, and things just went South from there. Fortunately, both the driver and the co-driver remained calm throughout the affair, and they exited the vehicle carefully to safety.

Since the impact was not as strong as it could have been, the co-driver pressed the “OK” button on the RallySafe box. The latter is a device that is relatively recently introduced in national rallies across the world, and many countries' motorsport federations still do not use it.

In short, it is a device meant to inform both rally control and the next contender of the fact that a certain vehicle has left the road on the stage. If the co-driver or driver does not press the “OK” button, an alarm will sound in the rally control office, as well as in the next competitor's vehicle. The latter is obliged to stop once they see the crashed vehicle, as well as provide emergency assistance until the professionals arrive.

If the co-driver does press the OK button on the RallySafe device, the next crew is free to continue their drive. Previously, a co-driver would have to sit next to the wreck to display green cardboard marked with “OK,” and wait for the next two cars on the road to see it. In case of imminent danger, they had to display a red card with “STOP,” or “HELP.”

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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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