Petter Solberg has apologised to Subaru's fans after he crashed out in the final 'proper' test on day two of the Rally Japan, the squad's home round in the World Rally Championship.

'Hollywood', who said prior to the event that he was hoping to be able to challenge for the victory, was pushing to try and close the 20-odd second deficit to Sebastien Loeb in third place, when he slid wide in a left hander in SS18 - the 9.55 kilometre Kina 2 test - and spun his Impreza WRC 2008. The car suffered heavy right rear damage in the incident and he was thus forced to call it a day.

It is thought that he will be able to re-join the fold on Sunday under the SupeRally, although he now lies down in 13th place and stands little chance of scoring points.

"Of course it is disappointing and I must say sorry to the Subaru fans, but we have had some very good things from today," Petter reflected, trying to put a positive spin on the situation.

"We came round a left hander on stage 18 and hit a large hole and the car just spun around. I went to start again but the rear geometry was all broken. We were pushing hard and sometimes things like this happen.

"It's disappointing, but honestly it has been a very good day. It was really good fun to drive and I really enjoyed it, and to win a stage [SS12] is very good.

"We are definitely going in the right direction. We must look at the positives as there has been a lot good about today."

Petter's brother Henning meanwhile also had a bad end to the second day and he retired in the repeat loop too. The Expert backed-man, who had hauled himself up to sixth in his Munchi's Ford Focus, went out in SS17 after damaging his rear suspension. If he re-starts on Sunday he will do so from 21st place.