“Wow! I don’t know what to say,” said Powell at the PortAventura service park earlier today. “It looks easy on TV but it’s definitely not. It was very challenging. The first stage was horrific. I couldn’t find the wipers, I couldn’t find the heated windscreen and we went off slightly so I have to apologise to M-Sport for that.
“The second stage we got into it a little bit better but we just saw a lot of cars scattered all over the stage but the third stage was the most difficult stage of my life. I will not be embarrassed to tell you I had to stop for about 30 seconds. It felt like an eternity. I was just out of breath on the Tarmac stages. I just could not go any further.
“On the gravel I was okay but on the Tarmac I had to stop. It’s so demanding on you, physically and mentally. Also we went into a cloud of fog and we couldn’t see anything. I was disorientated and stopped for a few seconds, which seemed the safest thing to do to get my bearings before going again.
“I had to shake Sebastien Loeb’s hand a while ago. I told him this thing looks so easy on TV but to actually do it is really, really difficult. He said it was difficult for him as well but I don’t believe him somehow.
“I have absolutely no regrets about doing this. I just didn’t expect it to be what it is. It’s really demanding on you, it’s a different level and really is Cool Runnings comes to the WRC.”
Powell has not been able to contest this afternoon’s stages due to illness. He plans to rest before restarting under Rally 2 rules on Saturday morning.