Petter Solberg will spend the next two days testing his Citroen DS3 WRC after an electrical fault cost him more than seven minutes and any chance of winning Rally Mexico.
The Norwegian was third, just 18 seconds off the lead, when he went into the second run at the Alfaro test, but a problem with the electrical connection to the throttle left him crawling out of the stage. More time was lost as he and co-driver Chris Patterson tried to fix the problem on the ensuing road section.
"It's so frustrating," said Solberg. "We have put in so much effort for nothing. I can't think about the championship, we have given away so many points here. This has destroyed my rally."
Solberg admitted his early form looked set to give him an excellent position in the running order for Saturday.
"I was close with [Sebastien] Ogier and [Sebastien] Loeb and we could have been just right tomorrow, but now this. The good thing is that we have found the problem and we are here, so we can try things and test the car for the next two days."
Solberg's co-driver Chris Patterson praised his driver's effort in locating the precise problem.
"We'd been through a checklist of things to try," said Patterson, "but we couldn't find anything. After we'd been working on the car for about 10 minutes, Petter tried a wire that went into a plug to control the throttle. When he pushed the wire, the engine ran sweet, so we knew this was part of the problem. We then had to repair the plug, which took some time. It's thanks to Petter's persistence and knowledge that we're here."