12 Dec 08
You began the last day in Wales as first car on the road. Did you think you still had a shot at the win?
I had a feeling in the morning that I could make it, and it was alright in the morning but going into the afternoon it changed. The roads in the morning were very solid ice with a little bit of gravel on top which was giving grip on the braking points but in the afternoon the sun melted the road which gave a little bit of surface water and I just didn't have total confidence. I had a couple of moments and I think that's where I lost the game - I just couldn't find the rhythm.
What was going through your mind going into that last stage? How much were you risking to try and keep the lead? I thought I had lost the game up until that last stage and when I heard about the penalty for Sebastien, then I thought I had a possibility. I basically went as fast as I could and I was taking risks. But I didn't take such big risks that I would be waiting on the bank for a trailer! I didn't want to finish the year like that. I thought New Zealand was one time too many to retire on the last stage so I had a little bit of limit on my speed.
Rally GB marked the end of your first full season with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi Team - how do you think you did?
Well, I've certainly had highs and lows. Before the season I was expecting my level of consistency to be better than last year but in fact, the consistency wasn't there. But on the other hand the most important thing was that my speed has improved and I ended being able to fight for the results. Winning Rally Sweden was a great feeling, but looking back now it was not the hardest rally. Sebastien had gone off the road and Mikko had lost time. In the second half of the season I have really started to learn how to fight for the victories. In Japan and GB I've been involved in proper battles. Now I really know what the challenge is for next year.
After a good start to the year you had a miserable August, what was the low point?
Probably New Zealand. But the whole of August was a black month. Crashing near the start of my home rally in Finland was the first big disappointment, then once again in Germany we had another big disappointment [and another roll] and then there was New Zealand [when Jari retired from second place after hitting a rock on the penultimate stage]. By the end of Rally New Zealand my confidence was right down.