Thierry Neuville has told DirtFish that it was a water leak, caused after a landing over a compression, that resulted in his retirement from Rally Finland.
The Hyundai driver had been running in fifth place before he bowed out of the competition on SS14.
His i20 Coupe WRC was picked up by television cameras traveling at a reduced speed along the stage with the front light pods – attached due to the fading light conditions – flapping around and then absent altogether.
Neuville parked his Hyundai up on a stage access road, but his retirement had gone unexplained for a while.
Asked by DirtFish’s Colin Clark in the media zone on Saturday evening what the problem was, Neuville said: “We had a water leakage on the car and we tried to carry on but we couldn’t.
“Something has broken after a compression. I didn’t check yet what, but my target was to go the end but we couldn’t.”
Explaining the flailing light pod, he added: “Same compression the light pod came loose but it’s just fixed on the bumper, obviously something broken.
“Very bad luck, nothing I could do, I was on the middle of the road, I was on a flat corner so there was no reason to brake for it, but maybe there was a stone pulled out by the car in front or something I have no idea, I didn’t investigate yet. But the footage will show us.”
It was a disappointing way for his weekend to end, particularly considering it was the second rally in a row where Neuville has encountered a major setback. On last month’s Acropolis Rally leaking power steering fluid restricted him to just an eighth place finish.
“Disappointed of course, especially for the championship,” he said. “Two races in a row with some technical issues is a bit a shame.”
Neuville is currently 50 points behind Sébastien Ogier with two rounds remaining after Finland. Ogier inherited the fifth spot Neuville surrendered, which means that if things remain as they are, he will be mathematically eliminated from the title equation.
Neuville won’t be afforded the opportunity to score powerstage points as he will not restart on Sunday.