The nine-time world champion had not even completed the opening asphalt section of the 12.03km stage before his Ford Puma slewed wide on a fast left corner after 100 metres and smashed into a wall.
The impact ripped the right rear wheel from the car and the Frenchman crawled to a halt.
Loeb’s tenure at the head of the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship was brief. He vaulted up the leaderboard from seventh to first in the previous test before his dreams of a second win in two outings this year were shattered.
The battle for surviving continues! The action is already coming in thick and fast with big moments, crashes, and plenty of punctures where few drivers emerged unscathed.