Henning Solberg failed to finish the Pioneer Rally Japan last weekend, after he slide into a ditch in the third stage on the final day and literally got stuck in the mud.

The Norwegian, who was running under the Munchi's Ford World Rally Team banner for the fifth time this year, had a slow start and early on he was battling to find the right set-up to suit his driving style on these all-new Japanese stages. Consequently he finished the first day down in ninth place.

With the set-up soften for day two though, he started to get in the groove and was even quickest in SS14, ending the first loop having moved up to seventh.

In the afternoon he continued to make progress and was actually running sixth when he picked up a puncture in SS17 after a heavy impact with a rut just 10 kilometres from the end of the test. After driving on the puncture for seven kilometres the car's rear left trailing arm broke forcing him out.

While he rejoined on day three under the SupeRally, he was unable to get his Focus RS WRC07 to the end and 12 kilometres into the 27.76 kilometre Sikot 1 stage he misjudged the braking point for a medium left and careered straight into a ditch. This time he was out for good.

"Everything felt wrong on Friday morning and I just couldn't drive the car at all. In service we changed a lot of things and made the car a lot softer and this helped a lot but we only did one stage in the afternoon because of Francois [Duval]'s accident so on Saturday I pushed hard to try and move up the leaderboard," he reflected.

"The conditions were very slippery and the problem was the mud which caused big ruts especially during the second pass of stages. After service on Saturday we made a few small changes and things were feeling good but stage 17 was just crazy with the ruts and I got a puncture about 10 kilometres from the end of the stage. Then with just three kilometres to go we broke the rear suspension and had to retire at the end of the stage.

"On the final day it was just so slippery. Where we went off I was braking maybe 100 metres before the corner and we just went straight on at a medium left hander and got bogged in the mud. This just hasn't been my rally."



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