The Citroen DS3 R3Ts of Keith Cronin and Alastair Fisher both stopped in the 100 metre-long crossing in SS7 when their cars ingested water. While Fisher restarted after an 18-minute delay, category leader Cronin retired.
Experienced Bryan Bouffier survived unscathed and put all his knowledge to good use to climb from fourth to lead by 7min 49.6sec in a DS3 R3T after the second leg of the three-day rally.
“My friends had some problems and we still have 145kms to go so we have to be very careful,” said Bouffier. “I used my head today, but it’s not an easy thing for a driver to listen to his head!”
Sebastien Chardonnet lies second in another DS3 R3T, despite going off the road in SS8 and dropping more than six minutes.
Francesco Parli holds third, more than 13 minutes from the lead, with Quentin Gilbert in fourth and the only other driver to complete the full day. He is almost 22 minutes behind Bouffier.
Gilbert and Simone Campedelli were also trapped by the river, Gilbert dropping 17 minutes and Campedelli retiring.
Fisher later suffered gearbox problems before his day finally ended when a suspected starter motor problem meant he could not restart his car when it stopped at the same river crossing on this afternoon’s second pass.