Jari-Matti Latvala was left to rue a costly error on the Saturday's second stage after a trip off road put him out of contention on day two of Rally Cyprus.
The BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver went into leg two running in fourth place, but looked set to benefit from his road position after he set the quickest time on the opening stage of the day.
However, the second stage of the day saw things fall apart from the young Finn when he went off the road and into a ditch on the side of the road at an area lacking in spectators. That left Latvala with a run back up the stage to get help before he could resume, losing more than 20 minutes in the process and plummeting down the order.
Although he remains on course to secure the final manufacturer point for Ford, Latvala was left to rue what might have been and he admitted that he may have pushed too hard in an effort to keep pace with the leaders.
“About 7.5km after the start of [SS8] I reached a left-right combination of bends,” he said. “I entered the left corner too fast and had to cut the inside of the right bend to compensate. It was only second gear so I didn't have enough speed to climb out of the cut and back onto the road.
“The car became stuck in heavy sand on Miikka's side and there was nobody about to help. I ran back along the stage for 1km to find spectators who ran back with me and we were able to push the car out. It was just a slight mistake in my pace notes, they were too fast for the left corner. It's a big disappointment for me and the team. It's my first time in Cyprus and maybe I should not have tried to fight with the guys ahead.
“Having lost so much time it was tough to keep my concentration level high and I had a spin on the last stage. But I needed to continue driving fast to gain experience of these stages. They were technical but not as rough as I feared, certainly not as rough as the roads in Greece.”
Team boss Malcolm Wilson shared in Latvala's disappointment and admitted that the team had considered pulling him out to restart under SupeRally on Sunday.
“It was very disappointing for the team because Jari had a great first stage this morning,” he said. “Miikka, his co-driver, is suffering from a sore throat and is losing his voice. It was a downhill section and a left and then a downhill right. I think Jari heard the left, but not the right and he slid off into a ditch. Unfortunately for him there were no spectators and no damage to the car, but he lost about 20 minutes. We could have pulled him out to do SupeRally, but felt that he needed to continue to get more experience.”