Sebastien Loeb has hit trouble on the first day of the 2015 Rally Morocco as he made his debut in competitive cross-country rallying.
The nine-time World Rally champion, who is preparing for his first Dakar Rally in January, is contesting the five-day Moroccan event on a 2015-spec Peugeot 2008DKR.
Loeb, 41, was en route to a strong debut showing on the 330km opening stage, climbing as high as fourth fastest on the third checkpoint, 244km into the rally.
However, he and co-driver Daniel Elena ground to a halt with less than 30km to go due to a reported mechanical failure and remained stationary for a while, awaiting assistance.
Loeb was finally towed by fellow competitor Steven Rotsaert, driving the #471 MAN TGS truck in the Open class.
The Frenchman made it to the finish line 3h24m down on stage winner Yazeed Al-Rajhi, himself a WRC points-scorer.
Loeb's Peugeot teammate Carlos Sainz was fourth, running a new-spec car, while long-time WRC rival Mikko Hirvonen was 12th in his X-Raid Mini All4.