The battle for Rally Poland victory was thrown into chaos on SS16 when lead combatants Thierry Neuville, Ott Tanak and Jari-Matti Latvala all hit trouble.
Tanak emerged in the lead but without a rear wing, while Latvala stopped on the stage.
This leaves Hyundai man Neuville in what is likely to be in the best situation going forward, although the Belgian himself lost a fair bit of ground thanks to a puncture.
Latvala, who had started to drift away from the top two in third, was first to hit trouble in SS16, stopping his Toyota on the stage. Following crews did not report any obvious damage to the Yaris.
Neuville had led Tanak by 3.0s going onto the Pozezdrze stage, but picked up a left-rear puncture early on and began losing time.
Though that moved Tanak into a 14.4s lead over Neuville, he ended the stage frustrated and concerned as the rear wing had fallen off his M-Sport Ford.
Tanak now has to cover two full-length stages and a superspecial with a significant aerodynamic disadvantage.
Hayden Paddon has moved up to third amid the drama, 39.3s off the lead, while the recovering Sebastien Ogier has taken fourth from Dani Sordo but is 1m37.4s behind Tanak.