For the second year running, Dani Sordo will not make it beyond the second stage of Rally Japan.
Last year the Hyundai driver retired due to a scary fire which engulfed his i20 N Rally1 towards the end of the Isegami’s Tunnel stage.
This time around, and ironically on exactly the same stage, Sordo was caught out in extremely difficult conditions, aquaplaning off the road and down into a ditch.
Adrien Fourmaux, the car behind him on the road, made exactly the same error and his car came to rest right next to Sordo’s.
M-Sport’s Rally1 returnee will not restart on Saturday morning due to chassis damage, and Sordo has been ruled out too – even though they both initially appeared on the start list.
“I’m really disappointed for myself and the team, but it was really difficult conditions,” Sordo said.
“We just missed the braking 11 kilometers into the stage. We started aquaplaning and we went straight on. I touched the brakes and one side locked up. We also had some mist on our screen which was a little distracting.
“Until then we were doing OK in the stage, we were taking no risks, but when you’re aquaplaning you can’t do anything.
“It looks like it was particularly slippery at that section with both Katsuta and Fourmaux also having problems at the same corner.”
There had been speculation that Japan could be Sordo’s final appearance in the World Rally Championship, but the Spaniard told DirtFish on Thursday that he will be back next year.