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Russian manhole cover sends Land Rover Freelander into a violent somersault

There’s no off-road terrain that a Land Rover can’t conquer, so a Freelander should be able to drive down an ordinary suburban road without incident, right? Wrong, actually. We’ve just cast eyes on a video, shot in Russia, that shows a Land Rover Freelander coming a cropper after rolling over a quite innocuous-looking manhole cover.

The Russian judges scored this forward somersault a 9.3
The Russian judges scored this forward somersault a 9.3

Coming a cropper is probably putting it lightly. Once it rolled over the renegade manhole cover, the innocent Freelander went all Matrix: Reloaded, flipping through the air as if Neo himself accidentally strolled in front of it.

Why a vehicle as capable as the Freelander should suffer so dramatically at the hands of a mere manhole is up for debate, and video footage from two separate cameras at the scene provide few clues. The first angle, shot by a dashboard camera in a following car, shows the Freelander suddenly doing a forward roll before coming to rest on its side.

A second video, shot from what appears to be a roadside surveillance camera, shows slightly more detail. The manhole appears to be covered, rather haphazardly, by a metal mesh. The front of the Freelander passes over it without incident, but as the rear approaches, all hell breaks loose. The car’s left rear suspension can be seen to contract violently as if something’s pushing it up from the ground, before the whole car does a somersault the country’s gymnasts would be proud of.

We’ve watched it a thousand times and we’re still none the wiser as to what causes the incident. Is it possible the grate flipped the car? Did the Freelander’s high centre of gravity play its part in this? Did Chuck Norris have a dodgy kebab that caused explosive gases to spontaneously combust in the sewers? We want to know!

If you have any theories, let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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