Craig Breen was unable to go head-to-head with rival Kris Hall on the Malcolm Wilson Rally after being forced out of the opening round of the Kick Energy Fiesta Sport Trophy UK.
Breen was battling for the lead with eventual winner Hall during the Cumbrian-based event when he ran into problems on the run through Greystoke.
On a stage which would cause problems for a number of drivers, Hall amongst them, Breen suffered a gearbox failure which forced him to retire.
“The stage was going really well until about halfway through,” he said. “I went to select second gear and there was no drive. I wracked my brains to think what the problem, and of course the solution, could have been - but no matter what we tried, it soon became evident that whatever it was, it was terminal.
“I was gutted. After an exciting morning, the afternoon was shaping up to be even better. I experienced the highs and lows of rallying in the space of just two hours. It proves that, even with the best preparation, there are some things which can't be avoided. On the plus side though, we'd shown our pace and proved that we could well be strong contenders for the Championship this season.”