Ramona Karlsson, right, and Miriam Walfridsson with their Production World Rally Championship Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, now sadly destroyed by fire.

Rally competitors Ramona Karlsson and navigator Miriam Walfridsson had to leap for their lives from their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X after it burst into flames.

The pair were lucky to escape serious injury as they jumped from the moving car to avoid being burned as flames moved swiftly through the cockpit of the vehicle.

The accident happened on Saturday in the middle of the last stage on Day 2 of the Rally New Zealand.

Karlsson said: “In the beginning of the stage something hit the underneath of the car and shortly after it began to get very hot inside the car.

“Smoke started to pour inside the car and Miriam screamed at me that the car was on fire and she could see flames coming inside the cockpit.''

The car was at racing speed as the flames began to engulf the interior and after Walfridsson's warning, Karlsson frantically worked to slow down so they could make a desperate leap to safety.

“I pushed the fire button as Miriam jumped out of the car at speed and I soon followed her,'' said Karlsson.

“The car continued on until it crashed into a bank and was consumed in flames.''

Walfridsson was dragged for a short distance when her foot was caught in the roll cage and the pair were lucky to get away with just a few bumps and bruises.

“I felt it was getting very, very hot.”

Walfridsson said: “When I looked over my shoulder the flames were right there beside me. I thought, ‘Oh s***', as my eyebrows got singed and yelled at Ramona that we had to get out - now.''

While happy not to have suffered severe burns, the two women were upset that their car was completely destroyed, as they were running second in the Production World Rally Championship category of the rally. - New Zealand Herald