Co-driver: Miikka Anttila

The rally started on Thursday evening with a super special which was driven in Belfast. The racing cars were taken there by trucks because Belfast is situated 200 kilometres from the rally centre, Sligo. The super special was driven in a park in front of the parliament building. My race started well because I was sixth after the first stage. The actual rally started on Friday morning with 166 kilometres of narrow, slippery and fast tarmac roads ahead. I was a bit exited before the rally because I was wondering how slippery the roads would really be. After the first stage I thought that this is going to be a really long and difficult rally because of all the mud on the roads. I started to trust the car and my driving more and more during the morning stages and due to the right tire choices it for easier for me to drive, but definitely not easy as such at all. I drove the whole Friday without any mistakes and to my surprise I was third at the end of the day. Not even the fast and bumpy stage 8 could weaken my position. On Saturday the stages were driven in Northern Ireland where we drove 104 kilometres. I was the second fastest on all the three morning stages. In the afternoon we drove the same stages again and I made one mistake. On stage 14 which was the afternoon’s first stage I drove into a rut of water in a left corner. The car started to push and I had to use the handbrake which made the car slide and hit a fence sideways. Luckily the car was not damaged but we got stuck in the mud. Fortunately there were spectators who helped us back to the road. The good thing was that we only lost 30 seconds. On the next stages my pace was normal again and we finished the day in third position. On Sunday there were 56 kilometres waiting for us. My aim was to drive calmly and to maintain my position. I didn’t hurry too much on the morning’s first two stages which brought Mikko Hirvonen closer, he was now only 15,6 seconds behind us. On the next stage I beat Mikko with 12,2 seconds. He was 28 seconds behind us before the last stage which we did well and we finished the rally in third position and were able to get to the podium for the first time. It felt extremely good!


Car: Ford Focus WRC -06
Service Team: Stobart