Didier Auriol has been forced to withdraw from Rally Finland. The French driver, one of only two non-Scandinavians to have won this event, aggravated an old shoulder injury in the days before the start. He received medical treatment during yesterday’s shakedown test and bravely contested last night’s Killeri superspecial despite being in considerable pain. However, as there was no improvement this morning the decision was made not to take this morning’s restart.
Dr Paul Trafford, who treated Didier yesterday, explained: “Didier has aggravated an old injury to his left shoulder. There is a build-up of calcium in the joint that is causing a severe inflammation of the tendon that passes through it. Didier received steroid injections yesterday to help relieve the pain but they take three to four days to work properly and it was remarkable that Didier could even drive at all last night. There should be no reason why he won’t be able to drive in Australia.”
Didier flew home to France this morning to begin treatment with his own doctors. Before he left he said: “I feel very sorry for the team that I could not continue in the rally but the injury was too painful for me to drive safely. It was the first time in my career that I have had to withdraw from an event like this. I must now concentrate on being fit for Rally Australia next month but I will be closely following the progress of the event from home.”