Citroen's Sebastien Ogier was left bitterly disappointed at the end of the second day of the Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada after a mistake in the final stage forced him out.
Ogier had led the Junior World Rally Championship category from the off and thanks to nine stages wins from eleven the Equipe de France FFSA-man headed into SS12 with over a minute on Martin Prokop, who was 'best of the rest'.
However, the repeat run through the 17.12 kilometre La Llena test proved the Frenchman's undoing when he hit a bank halfway through and damaged the radiator.
Although he could complete the test, he was forced to retire on the road section back to Salou, something that ends any hopes he might have had of clinching the J-WRC crown this weekend.
"We took the apex of a fast left-hander [in SS12] which was the ideal line. However, there was a coating of dust and gravel on the outside of the exit and I lost the rear end. We span and the front and rear of the car hit the bank, splitting a radiator hose," he explained.
"We were able to complete the last 8km and we tried to repair on the road section. Despite our best efforts, though, the engine had suffered too much damage for us to continue.
"I am obviously very disappointed. Everything had gone so well up to that point, and we had started to lift. But I suppose it is all experience. We are still in with a chance in the championship and we will try to make sure of the title next weekend in Corsica."
Prokop meanwhile now finds himself way out front and over 1.5 minutes up on Alessandro Bettega's Renault Clio in second: "We had a good day but it was sometimes a bit boring," noted Prokop, who managed to post two fastest stage times to add to the one he took on Friday.
"The gap in front was so big that there was nothing that we could really do to move ahead. Nonetheless, Sebastien's retirement after the last stage means that we suddenly find ourselves in the lead. So our objective now is clearly to stay there until the rally finish for my birthday!"