Welsh rally hero Gwyndaf Evans retired 16kms into the opening stage of the second leg of the Rally of Great Britain today, when the clutch failed on his SEAT C?rdoba WRC E3.

Gwyndaf and co-driver Howard Davies were just over halfway through the 26.47km Rhondda stage when they eventually stopped.

"The clutch started to slip two kilometres into the stage. I thought we were in trouble, but then it cleared for about five kilometres and everything was okay, but it began to get worse, and after 16kms it was impossible to continue," said Evans.

"We pulled over to the side of the road at junction 11, which is near an access road so the team can come and collect us and the car." Evans added, before explaining, "I'm really disappointed. Didier has been flying and set another really good time on this stage, and I was confident we could move up many places today."

SEAT Team-mate Didier Auriol, had showed the cars potential by setting fifth fastest time on the same stage, to maintain his points-scoring sixth position.

Meanwhile, the sister cars of Toni Gardemeister and Harri Rovanper? have continued to set similar times, the Finnish crews being separated by just 3.6 seconds on SS9 and seven seconds in the overall classification.