Robert Kubica has been ruled out of the Monte Carlo Rally before the start of the first stage after an engine problem on Tuesday night's prologue.
The Formula 1 driver's Renault Clio R3 developed the engine issue during the short prologue stage which sets the running order for today's opening leg. Despite his mechanics' best efforts, it became clear that the engine could not be repaired without breaking its seal, so Kubica has had to retire from the event.
The Pole had suggested during the start ceremonies yesterday that his Monte entry would be among the greatest challenges of his career so far.
"If the conditions will be like they were on the recce, very changeable, then it will be a very big challenge and one of the biggest challenges of my life to finish the rally," he said.
Astra Abarth driver Toni Gardemeister was fastest on the prologue ahead of Skoda pair Nicolas Vouilloz and Jan Kopecky, with reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Kris Meeke fourth despite a puncture.
The top-10 seeded drivers in the prologue results run in reverse order when leg one gets under way later this morning, so Peugeot's Bruno Magalhaes will be first into the stages, with Gardemeister 10th in running order.