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Drivers walk away unharmed as epic rally-car jump turns into an epic fail

Among the many forms of motor sports, rallying is one of the most dramatic to watch. Because not only do cars travel at high speeds across the ground, they occasionally leave it.

Epic jumps are a big part of rally driving. But they don’t always end in epic landings or, at least, the kind of epic landings the drivers want. Meaning, sometimes the car lands on all four wheels and drives on, and sometimes it crashes to the Earth like the Skoda Fabia World Rally Championship-2 car in this video.

This unfortunate incident took place during Rally Portugal, according to Top Gear. Seeing a potential jump opportunity, driver Quentin Gilbert pegged the throttle and launched himself and co-driver Renaud Jamoul into the air. The crowd of fans lining the course surely approved of that.

But then Gilbert backed off the throttle, transferring weight forward and causing the Skoda to take a nose dive. The car pivoted forward, going completely vertical before flipping end over end, and eventually coming to rest on its wheels. Despite the tumble, Gilbert and Jamoul climbed out of the wreck unharmed, a testament to the safety of modern race cars.

The World Rally Championship visits 13 countries in 2017, but the United States is not one of them. The WRC achieved some notoriety here in the 1990s and early 2000s, mostly thanks to WRC-inspired production cars like the Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. But rallying has never been as big in the U.S. as it is abroad. Some rally series have cropped up here over the years, but the sport can’t touch the popularity of higher-profile race series like NASCAR.

That may be in part because, while the action is great, seeing it live involves trudging into remote areas and standing next to a road for hours waiting for a handful of cars to fly by for a few seconds at a time. Or, occasionally, crash.

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