Monte Carlo didn’t go well and Corsica was a disaster. Driving on tarmac was not good at all, hadn’t been for a long time. I felt pressure because I had to succeed to get the manufacturer’s points. Hyundai was ahead and we wanted to catch them. So I needed a good result in Germany. My aim was to be on top five. At first it was a bit stiff and I just couldn’t quite get it. I was thinking of my driving too much. I had been in Ahvenisto and practiced with Olli Haapalainen and Antti Puri (track specialists). Finally I lowered my shoulders and started to relax in the cabin. Tommi (team principal) phoned me and told me to relax. Just relax and everything would be easier. So it was, even through the whole weekend. Ogier and Neuville had punctures. Finally Toyota had 1-2-3 positions. I was third. On Sunday we froze the situation and didn’t compete with each other. Sordo was fourth and tried to push but he wasn’t able to beat me. I was faster a couple of times and he was faster a couple of times. So I ended up third and was so happy. Another podium in a row.
The beginning of the season went badly. It was time to start the other half of the season in Jyväskylä. Due to the bad beginning of this season we were tenth in the series. We had to help the team to get the manufacturer’s title so we had to succeed in Jyväskylä. So the pressure was huge. Luckily it was my homerally, the stages were familiar and they were more or less the same as in last year’s event. I knew I had to be in top speed right from the first moment of the race which I managed to do. On the first stage I really was racing. One of the hardest racing days of the whole series I had ever driven was Friday. The gaps were only tenths of a second after Friday but we did lead. The race was even harder on Saturday with Meeke, Tänak and Lappi. In Kakaristo on Saturday there was a right-left combination and some concrete to prevent cutting. Last year the obstacle was on the right now it was on the left and I took a slightly different angle and had to go around on the left. I went in on the right hand side and throttled a bit too early and went into a ditch. Of course there was a stone there which I hit and instantly the rim broke down. After that I just tried to manage the stage through and had so many thoughts on my mind. Would everyone pass me now and would everything just go into pieces? But I was lucky and were able to drive so fast even with a broken rim that I was only 14 seconds behind the leading time of this stage. Although even the tire and the side of our car was totally ruined. After the stage we changed the tire and continued the race. Meeke hit the same rock (what a place!) and he had to retire because he broke the suspension. This time I was luckier. We needed the manufacturer’s points so I had to concentrate on getting them and not to do any more damage. E-P Lappi started to drive faster so he passed me. I let him go and concentrated on getting the car over the finish line safely. Our first podium (third position) and good manufacturer’s points because Tänak won. That was our plan, that came true and that was good.