Finally! Things are starting to calm down a little bit for me. I can't tell you how crazy Rally Norway was. I thought when I got to the start of the rally, it would be a little bit of a rest for me, but it just got busier! Anyway, I've had a small break now, but it's back to it for Cyprus this week.
Before Norway, I really had no idea how much went into running your own team - believe me, it's much easier being a driver.
Before I left home last week, I had more meetings with sponsors for this season - it's such an important part of the game. After that, I flew to Cyprus on Saturday and started testing the car on Sunday and Monday. And yesterday (Tuesday) I started the recce.
The test prior to that went well. We have a new engine and some new dampers for this event and both of them felt really good. Norway was a hell of a rally and - given the short space of time we had to get everything in place - the result my co-driver Phil Mills and I achieved was as good as anything we could have expected.
It was most happy with the final day, if you back look at the splits and the speeds on the fast stages - we were fastest. That was perfect - and that's what we're going to build on for Cyprus. You know, if things go well, I really think we can be fighting for the podium on this rally.
There was a lot of talk before the year about whether I would drive a Ford or a Citroen and which kind of Citroen and here I am in the Xsara WRC. And, I'm happy with the car. In a very tough year, I'm out driving in the sport which is my life.
Everything is important, but when you get to the start of the stage, put the car in first gear and start watching those lights counting down, nothing compares with that - it's the most incredible feeling. That feeling is why we put all of the hard work in.
I'm sure it's possible that I could have been further up the standings if I'd been in a Ford or in a C4 WRC, but I'm not. That didn't happen, so why worry about it or think about it? I'm in a Xsara, which is a very, very good car and I'm going to make the best of it.
That's the kind of philosophy which we have to keep going through this year. Yes, it is going to be quite hard in 2009. I hear that Urmo Aava might be going away and not competing on some rallies this season, so that's another car gone. All we can do is keep our sport going and make sure we are ready for a clean sheet of paper next year. And hope that the economy bounces back.
I didn't have to carry on as I have done this year, I could have just watched from the sidelines. But, like it says on my car, I never give up. And that's what I would say to everybody else in the sport, do the best you can and don't give up. We should not forget, we have the best sport in the world. And if you wonder why, just tune in and watch the Cyprus Rally.
I love this rally. I have led the event and won many times. And this year it's going to be really special with the asphalt stages on the first day - the cars are going to be really spectacular. I'm sure you will enjoy it. I know I will!
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