F1 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen lost out on another potential points finish on Rally Japan at the weekend when he misheard a pace note and went off the road.
Raikkonen, who had been on course to pick up four points for eighth, made the mistake on the final day, going off halfway through the 4.71 kilometre Bisan 1 test, the opening stage of the leg, when his Citroen
C4 WRC slid wide and slithered off the road.
Although it was a very low-speed off and the car was completely undamaged, with no spectators around, it was impossible to get back on the stage and he had to retire, missing out on what would have been his fifth points' finish of the season.
"After steering clear of mistakes for so long, it's really disappointing that such a small thing caused us to retire," Raikkonen said. "I just didn't quite understand the note, so we were a bit too quick into the corner.
"I tried to get the car back but unfortunately there was nothing to do and we went off. If there had been some spectators around then we would have had no problem to get back onto the road but it was in a place where nobody was there so unfortunately that's it. We learned a lot though and now we've got two asphalt rallies coming up, so we're going to be trying our best to come away with a good result."
Raikkonen's co-driver Kaj Lindstrom, who also failed to finish on his last outing in Hokkaido back in 2005, was also disappointed.
"We didn't deserve this; it was nobody's fault," Lindstrom continued. "There's a lot going on in the rally car, so it's very easy to mishear a pace note and it was a tricky place.
"We were unlucky that there were no spectators, otherwise we could have continued. But there are a lot of positive things that we can take from this rally: yesterday was one of the best days we have ever driven on gravel and we are getting better all the time."
Citroen Junior Team boss Benoit Nogier added: "We're a bit disappointed not to see Kimi at the finish. He drove a very solid rally yesterday but today it did not quite come to fruition. On the asphalt rallies coming up though, he should feel a bit more at ease."