In Jari-Matti Latvala's latest exclusive column on Crash.net, the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team man reflects on Rally de Espana, where he pushed Sébastien Loeb all the way...
What a weekend! I am very pleased with how everything went in Spain in my Ford Fiesta RS WRC car.
I haven't been on the podium on tarmac since Rally Ireland in 2007, which was a long time ago. Obviously I was lying second, which would have been my best-ever finish on asphalt, but we needed to help my team-mate, Mikko [Hirvonen] in his bid for the drivers' championship and so we swapped places at the end.
Mikko paid for my dinner afterwards as a thank-you, but he didn't need too. I was happy to help him and the team. It is very important for Ford to win the drivers' title and it doesn't really matter too much whether you are second or third.
To be honest I was more disappointed with what happened on the Friday in SS6. That spin was very costly - and very painful.
I had a 16 second lead before the last stage on day one and the really annoying thing was the conditions were not the same for everyone.
When the darkness came there was no wind at all and when the first car went through the dust started to build and was just hanging in the air.
It was okay on the asphalt sections at the start, but after that you had about 12 kilometres on very twisty, gravel roads. About 8 kilometres of that was very bad with the dust and combined with having the lights on, it was very difficult to see. It was like a wall against you, a bit like driving in thick fog.
It was bad earlier in the day too, but at least in SS1 in the day time we could still see some reference points to help give us an idea where to brake. But at night it is just impossible to do that.
I knew if I didn't keep pushing in Les Garrigues 2 I would lose the lead. But I pushed too hard at one right hander and spun between the trees. I didn't lose out too much time with the spin. But then I had to wait a long while for the dust to clear so I knew where the road was.
Later, to compound the problems, I got a puncture as well. It was very frustrating and without those problems I would have been in a very strong position to fight for the victory.
Alas though I was still happy to get on the podium and I was again pleased with the Fiesta RS WRC.