This was the first race on gravel for the season and also the first on gravel in six months. I tested in Spain for two days but the conditions were rainy and chilly so the testing wasn’t much of a use. The first stage on Friday was a 23-kilometer-long up-hill stage. Right from the start it was obvious that the Citroens were much faster than the Fords. Petter Solberg took the lead, I was as far as the fifth and Hirvonen was sixth. During the day I found more speed after setting up the car a bit but still the Citroens seemed to flee. I didn’t make any bigger mistakes but in some bumps the front of the car got a bit bent which broke the starting engine. Still all this did not affect my driving. At the end of the day P. Solberg was leading, Ogier was second, Loeb third, Sordo fourth, I was fifth and Hirvonen sixth. My driving place was better on Saturday and I thought that I could give pressure to the Citroens but no, it even was a very hard work to drive times within the three fastest. I made the suspension of the car harder during the day which really made the car better on fast sections but still no hope for the fastest times. I had one puncture during the day but that took only 20 seconds. Sordo drove off the road in the morning and broke his suspension. I took the fourth position because of that. Loeb drove incredibly fast and took the lead before P. Solberg and Ogier. On Sunday I drove like I did on Saturday. Only now I took no risks. In the end my position was fifth because I let Mikko Hirvonen pass me on the second last stage. This way he was able to get more points in the battle for the title. Loeb won the race; Solberg was second and Ogier third. Rally Mexico was very frustrating for the Fords because we couldn’t reach the speed of the Citroens. One reason may be the altitude. In Mexico the rally is driven about two kilometers above the sea level where the air is very thin. It weakens the power of the engines. The Fords have five gears and the Citroens six which give their cars better performance.
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