Meanwhile, Francois Delecour took charge of the rally in the Ardeche hills after Didier Auriol, his fellow-Frenchman and last year's winner, had to withdraw from the race while in the lead after breaking the gearbox of his Toyota Celica.
Auriol, winner also in 1990 and 1992, left the road at speed on a bend just after the start of the fifth of the day's six timed stages. 'The race was very fast and I knew I had to attack,' he said. 'But I went out much too fast, right from the first bend.'
Delecour, seeking a first win for Ford in his Escort, was neither happy with the fog and ice, nor his own performance. 'I'm scaring myself out there,' he said .
Details, Sporting Digest, page 35
Photograph: Robert Pratta / Reuter