Pepe López’s hopes of winning Rally Islas Canarias for a second year running are over after the Spanish ace crashed out of the FIA European Rally Championship finale on the rain-hit opening stage.
López was one of the favourites to win the all-asphalt event in his Rallye Team Spain-entered Citroën C3 R5, but crashed out on a right-hand bend, damaging the left-rear suspension of his car in the process.
To make matters worse for López, his Spanish title rival Nil Solans was quickest of all, 1.9s faster than Iván Ares. Adrien Fourmaux was 2.4s behind Solans with Erik Cais, Oliver Solberg and Marijan Griebel next up.
Grégoire Munster, who is six points ahead of Solberg in the ERC1 Junior title battle, punctured the right-rear tyre on his Hyundai i20 R5 after running wide on a corner.
European champion elect Alexey Lukyanuk, starting P27 on the road, bemoaned his decision to run on full dry-weather tyres. “We had slicks all round and it was completely wet and raining in the stage. It’s not what we expected.”