I was expecting a lot of this rally because the previous year I was able to battle for the victory here in Wales all the way to the last stage but once again Sebastien Loeb won and I was second. This year I could not battle for the victory but this race definitely built up my character. On the first stage of the rally the outer joint of the driving axle broke down turning the car into a three wheel drive. Furthermore the driving axle pulled itself totally out of the joint at the end of the stage breaking the front brake circuit. I was forced to drive stages two and three as a three wheel drive and having only rear brakes which caused all kinds of events. After the third stage there was a so called light service. It meant that we only could change the parts that we carried with us in the car. We managed to fix the brakes but we couldn’t do anything to the driving axle. The next three stages went as a three wheel drive. I was ninth in the race after Friday but all in all seven minutes behind the lead due to all my troubles. On Saturday I wanted to drive good times but I couldn’t find the rhythm and not even the set up of the car was the best possible to suit those fast and forested roads of southern Wales. My times were among the top five but I wasn’t able to drive any fastest times. At times I tried too much and that was why my driving wasn’t relaxed. Still I was able to improve my position, I was eighth now. To be relaxed was the idea of my driving on Sunday and it paid off. I drove well on the first stage of the morning and even better on the second until the finish line was crossed. I stopped driving too early before a slippery braking and s-type bends. I realized it was slippery, but I did that too late and I couldn’t stop the car. Instead it went too wide, hit the bank and flew onto the other side of the road and off the road. The spectators helped us get the car back to the road again and off we went. No external damage was caused by the accident but the right rear tyre twisted 45 degrees to the right and the right rear driving axle broke down. We had to drive with a broken car the last two stages but persistently and carefully we managed to get ourselves to the finish. Ogier had to retire and we raised one position. Hirvonen and Loeb had an unbelievable battle for the title which was then won by Loeb because he won here in Wales. Both this last rally and the whole season were very tricky and difficult for me but if I am able to learn from all that I will be much, much stronger next year. “Per Aspera Ad Astra”, as the ancient Romans used to say.
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