The accident happened under braking as the WRC rookie approached a tightening right-hander, 9.8km into the first pass over ‘Saint-Jeannet’ – ‘Malijai’.

The car ended up down a bank and was eventually freed with assistance from a group of spectators “pushing, pulling, and dragging” it, according to Solberg. Although the damage was purely superficial, the time loss amounted to half-an-hour and dropped him over thirty places down the leaderboard.

A similar exhaust fume problem afflicted Solberg and his co-driving team-mate Elliott Edmondson during Friday’s stages, and it appears to be confined to his I20 N Rally1 car only as neither Ott Tanak nor Thierry Neuville have experienced a similar issue.

“On Oliver’s car, we had a recurrence of fumes coming into the cockpit,” said Hyundai Motorsport’s Deputy Team Director, Julien Moncet.

“We monitored the situation very closely during the day and managed to get the crew to the end of the day safely. We will be investigating this again to find a solution. We hope for a better day tomorrow.”

When things were going right for Solberg he displayed the kind brilliance that convinced Hyundai to promote him to their WRC set up on a shared programme for 2022 with Spaniard Dani Sordo.

“We used the afternoon as another valuable learning experience,” said Solberg, the son of 2003 WRC champion, Petter. “Setting the joint third-fastest time through a snowy SS13, equalling my best-ever stage result, was a nice way to end to a really difficult day.”

Meanwhile, Hyundai Motorsport has confirmed that Tanak will take no further part in the season opener after retiring his car from the event today.

A slow puncture on SS9 was quickly followed by a heavy front impact on an ice-covered corner in SS11, with the subsequent damage forcing them to retire on the road section.

“We were leaking coolant and the engine was overheating so we had to stop the car on the road section,” said Tanak, the 2019 WRC champion.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be able to continue tomorrow but we are committed to learning from this challenging weekend to build for the rest of the season.”