Stobart Ford 'guest' driver Francois Duval was 'very disappointed' to have to retire from Rallye Deutschland on Saturday, especially as he was on course for a very respectable top-five finish.
The Belgian, who actually announced his retirement from the sport earlier this year, was tempted back for the ninth round in the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship and despite this being his first WRC event since 2008, he ran well early on.
Indeed despite losing time on day one with a driveshaft failure and some engine issues, he still ended the opening leg in sixth and on Saturday set seven top-six times - his best a fourth fastest time in SS11, the 11.34 km Hermeskeil / Gusenburg stage.
However, in the final test of the day, SS14 - the repeat-run through the monster 48 km Panzerplatte test, the 29-year-old took a right hand corner too fast and rolled his Ford Focus RS WRC approximately 7 kilometres from the end of the stage.
Duval and co-driver Denis Giraudet both walked away from the car unaided, although the latter did suffer a couple of broken ribs, later diagnosed after a 'routine' check-up at a local hospital.
"What can I say? I'm very disappointed to have to retire – everything had been going so well for us and I'd found a good rhythm and some stage times that I was pleased with," Duval reflected.
"I was catching up with some of the top five drivers and getting more and more confident as the rally went on. I'd been pushing hard to try and hold a lead over Petter [Solberg] but some understeer and a misjudged corner about 7km towards the end of the stage cause me to roll the [Ford] Focus between two hinkelsteins.
"The car is badly damaged on Denis' side but I do not know the state of the rest of the car as we left for a hospital check up straight after getting out of the car."
Duval's team-mate, Matthew Wilson meanwhile admitted he was relieved to hear they had escaped unharmed: "I'm disappointed that my team-mate François crashed in the final stage, he had been doing so well and it was good to see him catching up on the front-runners. Scott [Martin – my co-driver] and I were worried when we drove past their car on the stage as we didn't see Denis but I've since been told that he's fine. Francois waved us on in the stage – I'm just glad that they are both OK."