Congratulations Sebastien Loeb. Much as I have hated losing to him for the last nine years, we have to say well done for what he has achieved.
In some ways, it will be really sad to see him go next year. But, and I'm sorry to say this because it sounds a bit hard on him, it will open up the championship again in 2013.
I was the last person to beat Sebastien in a full season, in 2003, and I can't tell you how much I wanted to do it again.
When I won the World Rally Championship, it was an unbelieveable moment for me and that's what I want to focus on again in the future.
There's no getting away from the fact that last week's Rallye de France was another disappointment for me and Chris [Patterson, co-driver]. And it was such a bizarre way to end a rally. When I switched off the engine on Saturday morning, I couldn't really take in what had just happened. After the accident, quite a lot of people were asking me what I was doing? How had this happened?
I couldn't figure out how they didn't understand what had gone on - for me it was so obvious. But then I saw the helicopter footage and I could see why they didn't get it.
From above, the accident looked very different to the view that Chris and I had from onboard our Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
If you haven't seen the footage, then take a look at the Ford World Rally Team review above. The different angles tell very different stories.
Before I went off on the right-hander, everything had been going well. I started the day less than a second behind Mikko Hirvonen and I knew I could catch him. Our car is working so, so well on tarmac now, it's the best car I have driven in these conditions and I wanted to make full use of it.
Early in the stage where we went off, everything was going really well. I was quickest out of everybody, but this was because we were being neat and tidy and keeping to the right lines. Maybe you could think that I was pushing hard and really hanging everything out to make these times - but that's not how it works on this rally; you make fastest times by being neater than anybody else through the hairpins and corners and that's what we were doing.
And then we came to a long straight, a really fast section. The road dropped away - my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala described this place really well; Jari-Matti said it was like a mirage. It was very deceptive where the corner started and the camber was also not helping.
Petter was gutted not to be able to make more of his chances in France © XPB
Anyway, we got there and we started to slide and off we went. We had too much speed, that is clear.
We dropped down a bank and into the vineyards. Chris had already called the corner after the left where we went off - so I knew the road came back around to the right. In a split second, we were into the vines, so I kept my foot down to keep the speed up and get us through what looked like hedges.
The problem was - as you can see from the footage - there were so many leaves and braches, not to mention the grapes, coming at the screen and into the car that we couldn't see so clearly. But, like I said, I knew the road was coming so we kept going.
In an instant, we were across the road and into the vines on the other side. I had absolutely no idea we had gone over the road, which is why I kept the throttle in and then we hit the power line.
It was the most surreal accident of my career. It's very easy for people to sit back and say: "You should have slowed down..." We were talking about split-second decisions. The car wasn't damaged going into the vines and I knew we could get through them, what I didn't expect was not to be able to see the road.
When we hit the pole and broke the suspension, I was distraught. Honestly, you all know me - this sport and winning in this sport means everything to me and missing another chance really hurt.
The positive from the event was what Jari-Matti did. We have the car which can win on asphalt, there is no doubt about that. But for now the focus is back to gravel and Sardinia for Rally d'Italia. This is a nice event, but a really tough one - especially at this time of the year when we can have different kinds of weather.
But the Italians love their motorsport and I love anybody who loves motorsport!
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