This rally was the fifth of the season and a new one to all us drivers. I was very hopeful when starting the race because I have usually managed well in these new events. There would be eight stages on Friday, eight on Saturday and final six on Sunday. My race started well. We were close to the lead on the first stages although we weren’t able to drive any of the fastest times. My driving was a bit too aggressive, though, and it was rough for the rear tyres. I tried to set up the car in the service and drive a bit less eagerly but still the rear tyres wore too much and on the last stage I lost about five seconds because the tyres wore completely down. Anyhow, I was third in the race 8.5 seconds behind the leader, Dani Sordo. On Saturday Loeb started to push really hard and I could match his pace. After the three morning stages he was 34.1 seconds ahead Sordo and 34.5 seconds ahead me. But he had to retire due to a collision on the road section. I improved my driving on Saturday and could take the lead from Sordo but he and Mikko Hirvonen were very close. On Saturday afternoon’s last stage Mikko and I slowed down because of the tactics we had agreed with the team. We didn’t want to go as the first cars on the road next morning but let Sordo sweep the roads before us. So, after Saturday I was second 8.5 seconds behind Sordo and Mikko was third 1.9 seconds behind me. On Sunday I had a hard race waiting but was able to take the lead. Mikko was close only 0.3 seconds behind, he was second now. On the next stage my rear suspension support arm broke. Apparently it had been hit by a rock then twisted and now it snapped because of the strain. When the rear tyre bent under the car I thought for a second that oh, no now I have to retire but miraculously we were able to drive 60 km of access road and over 40 km of the stage with that broken suspension. We lost about 11 minutes but we managed to get to the service where the car was fixed and we started to chase the others in the afternoon. The pushing was even too hard at times I made mistakes the car got hits but finally it paid off and we managed to rise to the seventh position and got two personal points plus three points for the team. It really was sad and frustrating that I could not race properly for the victory throughout the whole rally but it’s better this way than with no points at all!
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