Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala says he was only “a bit off the line” when he damaged his suspension in SS5 of RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de Espana.
Latvala had been on a charge, winning SS3 and SS4 to haul himself up to third, just 5.7secs off the lead after a poor run in the short 3.20km Barcelona street super special on Thursday evening cost him 12 seconds.
However, in the first test this afternoon, the repeat-run through the 12.50km Caseres test, the Finn had to retire after skidding wide in a left-right combination breaking the suspension on his Polo R WRC. He will now re-join on Saturday under Rally 2, albeit in 40th overall.
"We found our rhythm very quickly today and underlined this with two wins on stages three and four. Unfortunately, our fightback then came to an abrupt end," he lamented.
"We got a bit off the line in a left-right combination and damaged the suspension. We tried to repair it, but it was impossible to continue. That was it for today. It is bitterly disappointing, but there's nothing we can do about it now.
"We will come back tomorrow and try to score as many points as possible towards the Manufacturers' Championship."