Sebastien Loeb's white racing boots were muddy again. They'd been clean for too long. Last weekend, Loeb was back on the loose and loving his new life in rallycross.
Citroen and the World Touring Car Championship? Yesterday's news. History.
Loeb was born to skid. And, with a couple of hundred more horses, two more driven wheels and half a lap of dirt to play with than he's been used to in the WTCC, the Alsatian was in his element.
In fairness, Loeb hasn't been a complete stranger to the puddles - anybody who witnessed week one of January's Dakar could tell he hadn't forgotten how to walk on water. There's no doubt, he can still mix it in the mud.
The nine-time World Rally champion went about Montalegre in typically unassuming fashion. He was straight out in the teeming rain to take a walk around the northern Portuguese track that would mark his full-time arrival in the World Rallycross Championship.
Learning a new car in big-time, flat-chat, mud-chucking traffic was always going to be a big ask, then the weather turned decidedly wet.
Consistent grip went out of the window and Loeb was in at the deep end.
"I didn't mind that," he says, "I learned a lot in all of the conditions, I saw a bit of everything. It was wet, then very wet, then it dried a bit, then it rained again... But it taught me a lot."
Arguably the biggest lesson he learned was that Peugeot has to find more speed in the wet if it's going to take the fight to the Audi, Volkswagen and possibly M-Sport's all-new Ford.
"We know what we have to do," he says. "We have good power, but the delivery has to be a bit more smooth; sometimes it's difficult to control when you're in the mud. There's a bit more work to come on the diff as well."
Loeb's back. He's talking the talk I remember: we're onto finding the feeling, the touch. Nothing's changed: the tone, the emphasis, the brief consideration of a quick explanation giving way to more detail.
Delighted as I am to be talking springs, diffs and dampers with the man who ruled the WRC for half a generation, I can't help but feel a little disappointed that he's alone. No Daniel Elena. No co-driver. That means he's still a bit of a racing driver - but at least he still talks like a rally driver.
Landing Loeb is a very, very big deal for World Rallycross.
Petter Solberg's massive, we all know that. His breathtaking on-the-roof performance at this year's Autosport International had thousands on their feet six times a day at the NEC. Solberg's domination of the World RX title since its inception in 2014 has been well received by fans around the world, but the category and the series needed another chapter. Loeb is that chapter.
And Ken Block's another story. It's already turning into the sort of page-turner I can't put down.
I've never hidden the fact that I'm a rally man through and through, but I've put my fear of change behind me. Years ago, I swore I'd never watch Twenty20. How could anything top a fascinating Lords five-dayer?
Can't get enough of it now.
If Portugal's anything to go by, RX will be my motorsport equivalent of T20.
Ahead of the weekend, I was intrigued to know how Quest would fill two hours of live television coverage from Montalegre.
Brilliantly was the answer. Andrew Coley and Guy Wilks were superb in their insight and commentary and, as usual, Neil Cole was on the money with his paddock questioning.
World Rally Championship, remember Neil Cole? He was the one who served the service park entertainment. The one who presided over one of the WRC's most watchable eras.
The subject of watchable telly - and the comparison between WRs C and X - came up with Loeb.
"To make rallying for television is quite complicated when it goes on for three days and all the time you drive alone," says Loeb. "Sure we make some nice videos with pictures from five corners, but it's quite difficult for a guy [watching at home] to understand what is happening. But rallycross is very quick and there's a lot of action. It's easy."
And the producer and promoter certainly made it look easy in Portugal. The programme flowed perfectly from pre-recorded into live. The comparison with what the WRC tries to do with the powerstage was impossible to avoid.
The conclusion? Hmm. Errr.
Being completely honest, Loeb's right. Rallying's a very different and considerably more difficult animal to televise. Rallycross, as we all know, was made for television.
Comparing the two really isn't on. It's like trying to compare the global anticipation and entertainment at the Olympic final of the mens' 100-metre with the mens' marathon. Athletes tackle both, but beyond them being running races, the similarities are thin on the ground.
The sprint's perfect for telly, but the marathon's more of a live event to be enjoyed from the pavement. Not convinced? Then take a look at the crowds lining 26 and a bit miles around London this weekend.
A few fixed cameras and a handful of onboards is, pretty much, all you need for rallycross. Rallying requires a military operation just to pack the van full of kit. And a budget to match.
Which makes me wonder why the WRC's still chasing the televised dream? When will it understand that it's not made for live telly, it's made for the internet?
Anybody catch the live stream from the Circuit of Ireland? It was a 24-hour demonstration of what modern day rally watching should be about - and all credit to Bobby Willis and his team for making it happen. If motorsport telly had an Oscar or BAFTA or something, Bobby should be preparing his acceptance speech right now.
And it didn't need a whole heap of cameras, engineers, technicians and producers to make it work. What it needed was an understanding of how to take the best of what was there already and pull it altogether. There was no rocket science, just a rallyman's belligerence to just get on with it and make it happen.
And it certainly happened.
Every WRC round that passes without a similar offering is a missed opportunity.
All of that said, and as much as I'm looking forward to Hockenheim (first time I've ever said that) and round two of World RX, I still wouldn't be anywhere other than Rally Argentina this week. The purity of a car, a crew and the fastest from a-to-b down mother earth's finest roads still tops everything.
And if we could just borrow Solberg and Loeb from time to time, it would be even better.