The Finn pulled over only seconds after starting the 21.91km El Cubilete test when the impact broke the front right suspension arm, bringing his day to a premature end.
“It was the third corner of the stage and there was some hanging dust in the air,” said Latvala. “I think the car in front must have pulled out the rock, which was lying in the middle of the road.
“When I saw it, I had no chance to go round it. I tried to get the impact on the sump guard, the strongest part underneath the car, so that it wouldn’t harm anything else. But unfortunately the rock hit the suspension arm, which broke, and I lost the steering straight away,” he added.
Latvala refused to be downhearted about the retirement, his second of the season after crashing out on the final day of Rallye-Monte Carlo.
“It was unlucky and annoying to retire so early, but we need to remember this is the car’s first year in WRC. It’s something we haven’t seen in testing and things like this happen in a rally environment. Now we can learn from it and improve,” he said.
“The team is thinking that the part might not be strong enough, so we have to check if we need to make some reinforcements for it,” he added.
Latvala confirmed he would return tomorrow under Rally 2 regulations.