In the recce the conditions seemed terrible because it had snowed on Friday’s stages and on Saturday’s plus Sunday’s stages there were some icy sections. Luckily it got a bit warmer when the race was about to start which melted the snow and the ice. Still they had to cancel some stages on Friday and shorten some of them because of bad conditions. Ice and snow aren’t usually a problem as such but now we only have one kind of tyre and it has been meant for more summery conditions. On Friday I started the race a bit carefully but then on stage three I found my pace and after that I managed to drive without mistakes although twice I had a bit of a close call. I was leading the rally by 12.9 seconds when we came to the evening service. Sebastien Loeb was second and P.G. Andersson was third. On Saturday I tried to increase my lead but the conditions were so stressfully difficult that I couldn’t take any big risks. In the morning the roads had been hardened by the frost and in the afternoon the grip varied greatly depending on where the road ran. No bigger mistakes though during the day and I was still leading but only by 7.9 seconds now. The last stage of the evening was a Super Special in Cardiff. While driving there in the rush the clutch of my car started to smoke and I had to start the Super Special without launch control which cost me about five seconds. On Sunday there was a real battle on frozen roads. I drove as fast as I could but Loeb got closer and closer. I was the first car on the road so maybe Loeb had some advantage when he saw my lines because I couldn’t match his pace and he won the rally by 12.7 seconds. I was very disappointed at myself but on the other hand being second in the last rally of the season wasn’t so bad. And one has to be better than the best to beat Loeb. That offers a great challenge for the season of 2009. I am going to fight for the world championship title in 2009.
Invalid Displayed Gallery