Ott Tänak will not take any further part in Rally Spain because his Hyundai’s chassis has been too badly damaged in the SS4 crash Tänak said “came a bit out of the blue.”
It had been a mixed Friday for Tänak up until his incident; lying fourth overall after the first stage before a high-speed spin on SS2 he was lucky to escape from.
The 2019 World Rally champion lost the rear of his Hyundai – on a corner that would catch out Elfyn Evans on the repeat pass – and steered into the slide to correct it, but the front of his i20 Coupe WRC found grip and sent him spinning down the road the other way.
SS3 was drama-free but early on the first test of the afternoon, Tänak was seen parked up on the side of the road after a dirty cut, his car resting adjacent to the stage near some trees on the left-hand side of the road.
“It has been a day of unpleasant surprises,” admitted Tänak.
“This morning, in SS2, we had quite an impressive spin, and then at the start of the afternoon loop we went off and had to retire the car.
“We hit a tree stump which caused damage to the car that is unfortunately irreparable.
“It was quite an impact, so we were probably carrying too much speed into the corner.
“We locked the wheel a bit, and together with the dirt, we couldn’t save it.
“Martin [Järveoja] and I are both fine; we weren’t really over the limit, so it came a bit out of the blue.”
Tänak’s retirement is the fifth of his season but only the second one that has prevented him from making the end of the rally.
The other such incident occurred on the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally where he collected two punctures with just one spare wheel in the trunk – a situation that earned him a suspended ban as he drove on the road section with just three rotating wheels.
Tänak wasn’t the only driver to retire from Friday’s action in Spain as Toyota junior Takamoto Katsuta bowed out after the first stage, misunderstanding a pacenote and crashing into a protective Armco barrier head-on.
Katsuta will however restart the event on Saturday.