Co-driven by fellow Finn Miikka Anttila, Latvala was fighting back from time lost on Thursday with a puncture and by opting to run first on the road in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC when he retired in what the Blue Oval described as a “bizarre incident”.
“It was a new stage and my plan was to take back time following my puncture yesterday,” said Latvala. “I came to a slippery downhill section on a hard surface and braked late for a tightening left corner. The car went wide and over a rock. When I came back onto the road I noticed steam from the radiator. I spoke with Miikka and looked over to his side to see if there was a warning light on the dash.
“When I looked back to the road I realised I couldn’t stop in time for the next right bend. I aimed the car straight ahead into a field but hit a gatepost, and the front right of the car was too badly damaged to continue. It was my mistake. I became distracted by the radiator issue and lost concentration. I should have focused on the driving and left Miikka to check the dashboard.”
He continued: “Yesterday I made an error with my start position and broke a wheel after hitting a rock, and then this happens today. This is one of my favourite rallies and I’m disappointed at the way I made the mistakes.”
Latvala and Ford team-mate Petter Solberg - who retired on the stage seven - will both restart on Saturday under Rally 2 rules.