Delecour: pedal to the metal

by Anthony Peacock / 16th January 2014

Fearless French legend Francois Delecour is renowned for having a heavy right foot – but this was taken to an extreme on the opening stage of the Monte Carlo Rally, when he suffered one of the strangest retirements of his career.

Delecour predicted before the start of the rally that it would be “bizarre” – yet even he couldn’t have imagined that he would retire just three kilometres into stage one with a broken accelerator. And by ‘broken’ we mean snapped clean off; rather than any form of more complex breakdown.

“That’s never happened to me before ever in a rally car; the accelerator just sheared off at its axis,” said Delecour. “Nothing at all we could do. That’s rallying, but we’ll be back: these things happen.”

He won’t be back in Monte Carlo though, as the event remains true to its traditional values with no Rally 2. Here, retirement means retirement, just like the good old days.

Delecour has got form though when it comes to breaking bits off Fords: during the 2001 Rally Argentina he pulled the gear lever of a Ford Focus WRC right off its mount. On that occasion he was able to continue to the end of the stage, using just the stem of the lever to change gear. No such luck this time.