M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux has rolled out of Rally di Roma during the second stage, forcing a premature end to his maiden European Rally Championship event.
The World Rally Championship regular had endured a difficult start to the first morning of the Rome-based season opener, having suffered a cracked rim and front-left puncture on the first test of Pica.
The Frenchman, alongside co-driver Renaud Jamoul, then went off on Roccasecca-Colle and rolled his Ford Fiesta R5 out of the rally. Both emerged from the incident unharmed.
Fourmaux had been sitting 19th in the classification before the accident and 35 seconds off the pace of rally leader Alexey Lukyanuk, who has a 7.5s advantage over last year’s winner Giandomenico Basso in second, with ERC returnee Craig Breen in third.
The M-Sport pair were not the only ones to suffer drama on the opening loop, with a number of crews hitting trouble.
Andrea Crugnola was the first contender to retire from the event after crashing his Citroën C3 R5 some 1.4 miles into the first test, losing two wheels and forcing the stage to be stopped.
Erik Cais, driving in his first event in an R5 car, lost nearly two minutes on SS1 and eventually retired with suspension damage after backing his Fiesta R5 into a wall.
ERC3 victory hopeful Dennis Rådström was also forced out after the suspension broke on his Ford Fiesta Rally4.
Oliver Solberg is currently running fifth following a difficult opening pair of stages. The Swede hit a rock on both Pica and Roccasecca-Colle but avoided a puncture on each occasion.
He then lost 9.2s on SS2 after bizarrely losing his glasses before the stage.