Autosport is reporting that earlier this week, MINI WRC driver Kris Meeke had a rather serious impact with a rock while putting the Countryman WRC race car through its testing regime. The MINI team managed to get the car put back together and testing before the day was out, but apparently the damage was more extensive than they’d first thought and a start for this weekend’s race in Estonia was out.

“Kris found what appears to be Ayers Rock and the impact took the wheels off and damaged the sill on the left side of the car. While we were perfectly happy to get the car running again for the test, we wouldn’t want to send it on an event like that [Estonia].

Lapworth added that the team’s hectic schedule meant that it made sense to can the Northern Irishman’s second competitive start.

“Don’t forget, we’re a small team,” he said. “The same guys who are out on the test in Finland have to come back and prepare the [Rally] Finland event cars and build more, plus we’ve got to get the test car ready for more testing next week. We had to draw a line somewhere and say, ‘Enough’s enough’, and we’ve done that. Unfortunately it means we won’t go to Estonia.”

So rough luck for team MINI. The Rally Estonia is thought of as a kind of warm up event for Rally Finland, where Kris and Dani will be competing later this month. Despite the non-start, the pair of them put in more than 450 miles of testing, hopefully making them that much more competitive in Finland.