Solberg and co-driver Chris Patterson had reduced their pace in order to secure their grip on the runner-up spot on the FIA World Rally Championship round when they came unstuck 1.4 kilometres from the stage finish, retiring with damage to his Ford Fiesta RS WRC’s front-left suspension and breaking the cross member.
“I was happy with second and Chris and I decided we wouldn’t push, so I changed my driving style accordingly,” explained Solberg, the 2003 world rally champion. “In a slow left corner the front wheel hit a rock on the inside. It was quite a shock because the rock wasn’t marked in my pace notes. The impact broke the cross-member and there was nothing more I could do.
“I was driving neatly so as not to take risks and to look after my tyres. Ironically if I had been driving faster then the car would have been more sideways going into the corner, and I probably wouldn’t have hit the rock.”
Solberg will restart on Saturday under Rally 2 rules in 10th position.