World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb has admitted he was baffled by the broken suspension part which ruled him out of a potential win on last weekend's Rally Poland.
The Frenchman retired from day one on stage four, after clipping a tree stump with the right-front wheel of his Citroen C4 WRC. The car's suspension and steering was damaged sufficiently to stop the five-time champion on the spot.
After studying the data and the damaged parts, Loeb says he is still none the wiser about how such significant damage occurred.
"I continue to moan a bit because of this tree stump," he said. "Pains like that with the C4, I have had dozens and never a break, particularly in Greece or even in testing.
"A World Rally car takes such shocks in its stride, it is not a [Renault] Clio. Sometimes it is said the limit is not the strength of the car, it is us. It takes big hits, it is mistreated, and nothing breaks! So I wonder about the quality of the weld on the cradle. It can be small differences from one to another and it [the damage] can come from there. But I do not actually know."
Loeb denied that his third problematic event in a row had made his chances of a sixth title more difficult, even though his championship rival Mikko Hirvonen now holds the points lead.
"It's simple," said Loeb. "I need to win one more rally than him."