"Square left up the hill," called my co-driver Brian Bourbonniere.
"Check!" I replied.
I hit the massively-powerful brakes on our Kia Optima Turbo.
Massively-powerful brakes are only as good as how massive the grip of the tires happens to be.
It was our second pass through the 'John Curran Memorial Stage', formerly known as 'Colliers', which runs between that latter community and Conception Harbour.
The road was 'Condition 1', meaning dry and clear. ('Condition 2' is wet, 'Condition 3' means 'animals walking two by two'.)
On the first pass I had noticed patches of water here and there from the rain the night before, but they didn't seem to pose a problem.
Brian had said we were OK on time through the first pass - he never tells me exactly how we are doing, on the well-established theory that the less I know the better - but he said we could pick it up a little the second time through.
We approached the appropriately-named (as it turned out...) Cemetery Road in good shape. I didn't notice - or didn't precisely remember from our first run - that a local had left his garden hose running in his driveway, and the water was running down into the road, right at the braking point for the corner.
The ABS kicked in, but once through the puddle there was gravel on the road, possibly from a previous excursion.
Even ABS can only do so much.
It became clear to me we weren't going to make the corner. Then I noticed in the little field to my slight-left sat the Mini of the father-and-daughter team of Don and Skye Sawyer from New York City. They had left exactly a minute before us, had done exactly the same thing, and were now sitting in that exact same field.
I really didn't want to hit their car.
Nor did straightening out and going smack into the red-taped barrier and possibly involving some of the course marshals seem wise.
I'm not sure after the fact whether I really had much influence on our trajectory at this point.
Surely more by good luck than good management, I spilt the difference, hit the fence and the field, but not the Mini.
The question then became - now what?
Once everyone else had completed the stage, some locals - including the former mayor of Conception Harbour! - dragged us out. The car looked OK, felt OK, was clearly driveable, but we felt it wise to head gingerly to the Kia dealership in Clarenville, about 120 km away, to check it out before re-joining the event.
Turns out the skid plate (an aluminum plate under the engine compartment) did what it was designed to do - sacrifice itself to protect the valuable innards.
Its mounting bracket was broken, so we simply took the whole thing off.
There was some damage to the plastic bits under the grille, and I got half-way to eliminating the dreaded fog lights - the left one is now landfill.
We missed three stages, but got back in time to run the long and terrifyingly fast Gooseberry Cove. We took it easy - although we did hit 191 kmh at one point - because we wanted to make sure the car was OK.
It felt fine.
Unfortunately, the Sawyers, whose car was not as badly dinged in the Conception Harbour incident as ours, had another 'off' in that stage, and we had to 'transit' - drive at non-racing speeds - out.
The short but fast Port Blandford stage and a long, construction-filled transit took us to Gander, where we are tonight - Monday.
Tomorrow is another day.