Still it was a brilliant event, as always. I just love everything about New Zealand. The stages are absolutely amazing – especially Whaanga Coast – and the atmosphere, food and the enthusiasm of the spectators are all great. This is by far one of my favourite rallies.
The weather, of course, made things tough this year; it was almost impossible to keep up, and it shifted from very cold to quite warm within minutes. Still, that adds to the challenge and is all part and parcel of the WRC.
The championship now has its customary break and I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my family. My son Oliver has some cross-kart races, there will probably be some fishing and definitely some training to keep myself in shape, and we might take a trip or two with our camper. Mainly I just want to relax and enjoy the break so I can come back for the second half of the season feeling relaxed and refreshed – and ready to win!
There will be some testing ahead of Finland and Germany. We have an asphalt test scheduled for early July and then the pre-Finland test towards the end of the month, at which we will focus on finding the best set-up for the car for what is always one of the toughest and most enjoyable events of the year. I'll certainly be going for some good results in the second half of the season.
We've had four podiums so far and I have been happy both with my form and that of the Fiesta RS WRC. I think I'm driving as well as I ever have, and as I've said on many occasions, the Fiesta RS WRC is just a fantastic piece of kit! But I know we can win and I'm a bit disappointed we haven't done that yet. At almost every rally we have proved we have the speed to win, but there is still time...
Anything can happen in the second half of the year, and I promise you that neither Jari-Matti nor myself have given up. We will fight until it is no longer possible, and if that does become the case, we will fight to win every remaining rally. We saw last year that Loeb had two or three bad rallies towards the end of the season, so however the situation looks right now, you should never say never.
We are both really looking forward to the next round in Finland. It is a classic event and the stages are amazing, so fast and flowing. There are also loads of spectators, who create an awesome atmosphere – and it feels a little bit like home!
It is going to be important to do well there – as it always is at every event – and I am convinced we can turn it around and win in Jyväskylä. I've finished on the podium in Finland twice before – third in 2002 and second in 2003 – so hopefully 2012 will be third time lucky! I can't wait...
Until next time,
To keep tabs on the Ford World Rally Team's progress, simply follow this link: www.wrcford.com