Rallying requires lightning quick reflexes and the ability to turn off one’s sense of self-preservation. This much is not in doubt. Anyone that’s ever seen a rally car hurtle along a tree-lined spit of dirt road at high speeds could tell you that. What many people don’t know is that it also requires a strong mechanical sense. Knowing how to repair one’s car when far from the service garages is a must. A strong sense of ingenuity is pretty handy, as well.
It was that sense of ingenuity that came to the aid of Thierry Neuville (shown above during last weekend’s Rally Mexico), a WRC driver for the Hyundai Motorsport team, after his i20 suffered a radiator leak during the drive back to service. Neuville and his co-driver, Nicolas Gilsoul, hopped out of the car, assessed the issue and realized they needed to patch the radiator leak and refill the coolant, which they were fresh out of. So, instead, they used beer.
The pair had been awarded a magnum-sized bottle of Corona from the Rally Mexico’s corporate sponsor after the final power stage. As Neuville doesn’t drink, they tossed the beer in the back of the i20 and set off for the garages. It was a good thing they did, as adding the Mexican lager to the car’s system allowed them to limp back to service.
“We were able to fix it quite quickly but to refill the system we made use of everything we had in the car, luckily we got some beer at the end of the Power Stage and we used it,” Neuville told the WRC website. “I really tried to stay calm and say to myself we were okay, but when we had more than 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) to go I thought okay, maybe this could be the end. But after we stopped again the temperature came down and then I thought it would be okay.”
The pair made it to service and captured Hyundai’s first podium in the WRC.