Championship leader Sébastien Ogier has defended his low risk strategy at Orlen 74th Rally Poland, and believes his podium finish proved it was the right approach to take.
First in the running order for the opening leg, the M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver struggled in the wet conditions and fell behind the leading trio to end the day almost half a minute adrift. On Saturday, his progress was halted by two punctures, a spin and an intermittent alternator problem.
But on Sunday that fourth place became third after his team-mate Ott Tänak crashed out, while second fastest time on the Power Stage added another four points to his tally.
"It was a difficult rally for us, still the overall assessment is good and we’ve saved as many points as we could," Ogier said.
"I have never been a kamikaze behind the wheel. I have always trusted in my feeling above all else and I tend not to force things if I feel I'm not 100% in control. It was the case on those ploughed up and super slippery roads, and at times I didn't dare take those additional risks to have the optimum speed."
"The final result proves that it wasn't a bad decision. Taking more risks wouldn't have been enough to get the win anyway, partly because of the handicap of opening the road the first day on those super muddy roads and also considering a certain amount of bad luck and all those little issues we faced."
Ogier left Poland with his championship lead trimmed to just 11 points and Hyundai's Thierry Neuville in the position of chief title rival.
"Even if we can never say that a weekend has been positive when our championship lead is reduced, it's not such a bad operation," Ogier reflected. "Two of the four main title contenders lost lots of points and the competition has become a lot clearer now.
"It's now time to chill out a little during the holidays, before coming back at full throttle in Finland to continue defending our position."