29 Feb 08
Patrik Sandell Blog, day 1, Friday 29 March
Last night at the start was insane! A while ago I thought it would be fun to be a singer but here the girls were screaming at me anyway! We have a saying in Sweden that when you open yourself to others you get so much more back and that was exactly how it was like last night. The first thing I said to the crowds in the microphone was 'Hola México!' and they were screaming like hell! It was an amazing feeling. And all the Juniors put on a show - Milos [Komljenovic] even stood on his roof while his co-driver drove the car. But that's what it's all about; it's a show and you have to understand that if you want to stay in this business, the more you give to the fans, the more you get back from them.
But that was last night. Today was a different story. And to be honest, when we first started to have brake problems on SS4, the first thing I thought was s**t, let me go home. The brakes started to fade this morning but after SS4 we had to work to fix the problem at refuel, so we bled the brakes but one of the callipers was damaged so we had to try and plug the pipe. It was really stressful - I even got a text from my girlfriend telling me to stop swearing in Swedish as she could hear me on the [World Rally] radio!
Once we had put the brake fluid back in the plug broke so we lost all our spare fluid after about 500 metres into the next stage. And to make it even worse, I hit a rock a few kilometres later so we finished the stage with a puncture as well. And from that stage, the only way to slow down was to drop down gears really quickly, although the stop on first gear had also broken so I had to watch carefully when I did it to make sure I didn't go into reverse.
By the time we got to the superspecial stage, Emil [Axelsson] had to jump out of the car a hold on to it to try and stop it. I wouldn't like to have been him - he's really hurting now and he needs a good session with the physio!
It was a really difficult day but you just have to take it as it comes and survive what is thrown at you. Sitting here now eating my dinner I actually think it was a really exciting day. I had no brakes for almost five stages and if that isn't living on the edge, I don't know what is.