Henning Solberg will get his Rally Cyprus challenge underway on Saturday's second leg after a road accident prior to SS1 forced him out of day one of the event.
The Stobart VK M-Sport driver was en-route to the 30.33km run through Panagia when a pick-up truck pulled out in front of his Ford Focus, with the resulting contact damaging the cooling system on his car.
With Solberg and co-driver Cato Menkerud unable to carry out repairs at the side of the road, they were left with no option but to retire and as a result, will start day two down in 29th place and the best part of half an hour from the lead, with his focus on setting the best stage times possible while trying to help the team secure some manufacturers' points.
“It is really, really disappointing as I had a good feeling coming into the rally,” he reflected. “I was driving steadily to the start and a vehicle that had pulled over to the side of the road suddenly changed direction and steered into the path of my car. I tried to repair it but there was too much damage to the cooling system.
“I hope to get back tomorrow but my hopes of a good result are gone. Now I just have to hope to pick up manufacturer points. My plan tomorrow is to go out and set some good times; my chance of getting good driver points has gone but I would like to set some fast times.”
Solberg's team-mate Matthew Wilson didn't enjoy a problem-free day after suffering braking issues on his car, but the Briton was able to make it to the end of the day in eighth place, putting him on course for a third straight points finish.
“Today was very difficult,” he said. “It was hard to know how to drive on asphalt with the gravel tyres. It was good to end the day in the points and to be able to concentrate on the gravel stages tomorrow. I've really liked this rally in the past so I hope tomorrow I'll be able to increase my speed. Hopefully there will not be too much rain tonight so that the stages stay the same as they were on the recce.
“It was frustrating to have an issue with the brakes today and that meant that we lost quite a bit of time. There were a few heavy showers on the last stage but that didn't really affect the grip.”