Hayden Paddon and John Kennard have were forced to retire with gearbox issues on the opening day of Wales Rally GB.
Paddon and Kennard were quickest among the Super 2000 World Rally Championship competitors after stage one and 14th fastest overall, setting a sharp pace for the 20.48 km stage. They were 4.4 seconds quicker than series leader Per-Gunnar Andersson.
Things started to go wrong on stage two when the Skoda lost all power with an ignition problem.
"An electrical fault stopped the car in a similar fashion to what happened in Portugal earlier in the year. After going through all the systems and resetting everything, we got the car fired again, losing 14 minutes. With championship leader, P-G Andersson out on the same stage, it was vital to continue to pick up the points," said Paddon.
Stage three and Paddon fought back with the second-quickest time but a second gear in the Skoda's gearbox was gone.
A disappointed Paddon said: "At least this time, unlike Finland, we can re-join the rally, and we will be back tomorrow with just one target - to try and beat Sébastien Ogier on some stages. If we can do that, then not all is completely lost for the weekend and with the championship leader also rejoining tomorrow, we may not lose many, if any, points to the championship lead."
Day two of Wales Rally GB continues from the rally's base in Cardiff and runs over military and forest roads on Mynydd Epynt before heading south for the final stage of the day at Celtic Manor, near Newport.
- © Fairfax NZ News