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Pykalisto, Rovanpera crash on stage eight in Sweden

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Pykalisto, Rovanpera crash on stage eight in Sweden

The Swedish Rally came to a temporary halt during stage eight (Fredriskberg) on Saturday morning, due to an accident between two Peugeots. Privateer Juuso Pykalisto, driving for Team MGR, rolled his Peugeot 206 WRC, and while spectators were ...

The Swedish Rally came to a temporary halt during stage eight (Fredriskberg) on Saturday morning, due to an accident between two Peugeots.

Privateer Juuso Pykalisto, driving for Team MGR, rolled his Peugeot 206 WRC, and while spectators were attempting to help roll it upright, the stricken car was hit by Peugeot works driver Harri Rovanpera.

Pykalisto was removed from the car, placed in a neck brace and taken to a local hospital. Medical updates state that the young Finnish driver has been reported to be dazed and in shock but not seriously injured.

Rovanpera was uninjured, but quite upset that no indication from the local marshals was given to him to slow down prior to the incident. Peugeot team driver Richard Burns arrived on the scene immediately after and confirmed Rovanpera's statement about the lack of notice.

Corrado Provera, Peugeot team director, explained the accident: "Of course we are incredibly disappointed about the accident to Juuso [Pykalisto] and Harri [Rovanpera] on stage eight. Juuso had rolled, and his car was in the middle of the road. He believed he would be able to continue, so remained in the car while some spectators helped him to push it onto his wheels. But Harri had received no warning of this accident, so could not avoid hitting Juuso's car."

"The result was that the stage was canceled, and an ambulance sent in for Juuso," Provera continued. "As far as we know now he is shocked, but has no more serious injuries. Harri was subsequently forced to retire as his car was too badly damaged to continue."

Pykalisto is a protege of current World Champion Marcus Gronholm and was in fifth position overall in his Peugeot 206 prepared by Marcus Gronholm Racing (Team MGR). Pykalisto plans to drive in eight WRC events this year, for MGR and Bozian Racing.

"I'm very disappointed for Juuso because he was having a good rally," Gronholm said after the stage. "But I'm not exactly sure what happened. The important thing is that he seems to be OK. These stages in the afternoon seem to be very difficult, so I'll need to keep on pushing at the same pace."

The FIA World Rally Championship stewards stopped the stage, and assigned times to the remaining drivers based on their performance in the rally. The stewards' statement follows:

Following the stoppage of SS8, caused by the retirement of Juuso Pykalisto and Harri Rovanpera, Swedish Rally stewards have made the decision that the nine crews who completed the stage competitively (Carlos Sainz, Toni Gardemeister, Colin McRae, Markko Martin, Petter Solberg, Freddy Loix, Janne Tuohino, Mikko Hirvonen and Armin Schwarz) will keep the times they set.

Of all remaining crews, Marcus Gronholm, Tommi Makinen and Richard Burns will be given the time of Sainz - 10:47.5 - and all remaining crews will be given the time of Schwarz - 11:05.2. This decision has been based on performance on the rally to date.

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