Breen still controls title race despite non-finish
The flat but deceptively difficult terrain of the north Belgium farmlands proved more than a match for Craig Breen and the Irish contingent contesting the Ypres Rally.
Only Marty McCormack made it to the finish, salvaging ninth place in his Skoda Fabia, as Breen and the Moffett brothers, Sam and Josh, fell victim to the fields of Flanders.
For much of the rally, Breen looked comfortably on course to extend his European championship advantage, leading from stage four until 11, but then his Peugeot Academy 208 T16 picked up a puncture, dropping him to second behind the Citroen of Bryan Bouffier.
Pushing hard to pull back the deficit, Breen slipped off the road on the next stage, ploughing through a vegetable field, the produce blocking the radiator and causing the engine to overheat.
It brought to an end a run of three successive ERC victories although he remains top of the championship standings.
Former British junior champion McCormack was in several fields as well but still climbed as high as sixth before one excursion too many dropped him back down the leaderboard.
The Moffetts suffered even worse, Sam's Ford Fiesta finally exiting, like Breen, with an overheating engine after he too had been exploring the fields.
Younger brother Josh lost ground with a misfire on Friday but had recovered to seventh before a huge triple roll accident on the final stage left him with a very battered Fiesta.
Fortunately, Josh and co-driver John Rowan suffered no serious injuries.
Belgian veteran Freddy Loix showed all his experience to stay clear of trouble to win Ypres for an amazing 10th time in his new R5 Skoda. Bouffier was second.