Sebastien Ogier's hopes of a second consecutive Monte Carlo Rally win have received a huge blow after he went off on the third stage when he hit snow placed in the road by spectators.
The Frenchman lost over two minutes to the leaders, falling to eighth, and was furious when he reached the finish of the stage.
"Some spectator put a lot of snow on the road, we hit it with slick tires," said Ogier, who reported that his Peugeot sustained a damaged wheel.
"It was a s*** spectator; very, very stupid. I went off on the snow – impossible to restart. I had to get a spectator to push me."
Ogier had been running second, 4sec behind leader Mikko Hirvonen, until the incident.
Hirvonen went on to win the stage in the new S2000 Ford Fiesta and is now 35.4sec ahead of new second-place man Stephane Sarrazin.