The first Rally Bulgaria in history was driven about 70 kilometers from Sofia close to a skiing resort. We had driven good tests before the race changing the car notably and for a better direction. We hoped that now we could be closer to the Citroens than last year. My own driving style has changed a bit after driving at Nurburgring in the spring. The race started on Friday in dry conditions. The first stage was the longest, almost 32 kilometers. Right away the Citroens went unbelievably fast although our car felt better on tarmac than last year. After the second stage the car started to feel too soft so I changed to a harder suspension which immediately helped and I was able to trust the car more. After Friday I was sixth and my team mate Mikko Hirvonen fifth ten seconds ahead me. Sebastien Loeb was leading. On Saturday morning there was a slight shower which made two of the stages wet but our team weather report was unable to give us that information. So Mikko and I took hard tyres while the Citroens took soft ones. Our tyres did not work in wet conditions so the Citroens rubbed our noses with their pace. The stages started to dry and in the afternoon our hard tyres were the right ones. But then my power steering broke down and I had to drive two stages without it. That was tough for arms. Luckily I didn’t lose much due to that problem, only about half a minute but there were a couple of happenings along the way because my hands and arms got so tired that it was very difficult to turn the wheel. It was like hammering with a heavy hammer having your arms straight. After Saturday I was sixth 40 seconds behind number five and 40 seconds ahead number seven. On Sunday morning we tried different tyres because my position was safe so it wouldn’t matter if I lost some time. My times in the morning weren’t very good with soft tyres (the others were driving with hard ones). In the afternoon I took hard tyres and I drove like I normally do. We learned how different type of tyres work on different surface which would be useful information in the coming rallies. I finished the rally sixth, my team mate Mikko Hirvonen was fifth and Sebastien Loeb’s triumphal march on tarmac continued.
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