Ford's Petter Solberg has crashed out in France after going off the road in the first test of the day.

The Norwegian, who was battling with Mikko Hirvonen for third, left the road at a fast-left hand bend in SS9, the 18.16 km Massif des Grands Crus-Ungersberg 1 test. He then went off into the vinyards before re-crossing the stage and then smashing into and felling a telegraph pole, which alarmingly almost hit a couple of spectators.

Both Solberg and co-driver, Chris Patterson escaped unharmed, but they were unable to continue. It has yet to be confirmed if Solberg made a mistake or if there was some sort of technical failure. It has also yet to be announced if the 37-year-old will be able to rejoin on Sunday under the Rally 2 regulations.

To see footage of the incident:




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