M-Sport's championship leader Sébastien Ogier admits that every point is becoming increasingly important after the battle for this year's WRC drivers' title intensified at Rally Italia Sardegna.
Ogier accepts he was not able to come up with the performances he had hoped for in Sardinia last weekend.
First out in the starting order during the first leg, the Frenchman had to endure the role of road sweeper on one of the season's most awkward surfaces. A puncture on Saturday was a further setback.
Fifth place in the rally and third best time in the Power Stage meant the world champion left Sardinia with 13 points, his lowest score of the seven rounds so far.
"Considering our position as championship leaders, we were expecting Sardinia to be a difficult rally and so it proved to be," he acknowledged.
Ogier retains his title lead, but by a slimmer margin from second-placed Thierry Neuville. Behind them, Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala both made significant gains and just 34 points covers the top four drivers with six rallies to come.
"In view of the road conditions and the way the weekend progressed generally, we can take satisfaction from the points we scored," Ogier said.
"The gap between the top four places in the championship closed a bit more and the title will surely be between the four of us. With such small differences every point becomes important, and we've only lost four on our nearest rival, Thierry Neuville, which is not too bad.
"We must keep on working because in the last three rallies our performance has been up and down. All the same, it's very positive to be leading the championship halfway through the season and with an 18-point lead at that. We're going to keep on defending that position at all costs!"