Runaway Jordan Rally Super 2000 division leader Nasser Al-Attiyah has retired from the event with engine problems.
The Qatari driver had been firmly in control of the SWRC section of the event until the first stage this morning, when his Fiesta was struck down by an engine glitch.
This means Al-Attiyah takes no points for the second event in succession, following his exclusion from the previous round in Mexico for fuel cell ventilation irregularities on his car.
The former Production Car World Rally champion had been almost two minutes clear of his class rivals when he retired this morning. His departure from the event leaves Bernardo Sousa defending a 42-second lead for the rest of the event.
Al-Attiyah's wretched start to the season in the SWRC is balanced by the speculation that he will be announced as a Volkswagen driver for next year's WRC later this season.
In the overall battle, Sebastien Ogier has maintained a 23.3-second lead over Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb after the first two stages of the morning, with the rest of the loop's stages not expected to clean so much for the cars running behind Ogier, the Frenchman is looking strong with six stages to go.