Gus Greensmith has crashed out of Rally Spain, his Ford Puma Rally1 clattering into an armco barrier on the El Montmell test.
Greensmith had been battling team-mate Adrien Fourmaux for ninth place on Saturday morning but had thus far been unable to make inroads.
But at a right-hander after a long flat-out section, Greensmith understeered wide under braking.
Unable to make the apex, he pulled the handbrake to try and rotate the car but still struck a roadside barrier anyway, wrecking the left-side of his Puma and ripping the left-rear wheel clean off.
Though he was able to restart the Puma’s engine, he was unable to move, such was the damage sustained.
His heavily damaged car blocked the road, which triggered a red flag and led to the stage being cancelled.
“I feel really sorry for Gus, honestly,” said Fourmaux after completing the stage at road speed.
“It’s quite difficult because the tires are overheating during the stage and this part is really fast, and there is a big braking for this corner. It’s things that can happen with the tires like this.”
Fourmaux, Takamoto Katsuta and Craig Breen were all on the stage when the red flag came out and will be given notional times by stewards later.
So too will the remainder of the Rally1 field, with Elfyn Evans leading the remaining cars through El Montmell at road speed.
That means Sébastien Ogier retains a 9.7s rally lead over Toyota team-mate Kalle Rovanperä, while Thierry Neuville has one less stage with which to make up the 4.5s he needs to steal second place away from the newly crowned world champion.
Greensmith’s retirement promotes M-Sport team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet into the top 10.