It was a strange week, to tell the truth. The atmosphere of the rally in general with so many fans there was amazing, but it was also sad at the same time with it being the last event for Ford, Stage 1 Technology and Sébastien Loeb's full-time WRC career. It was a weekend of highs and lows, but above all, it was a weekend of fond farewells.
Certainly there was a lot of emotion in the Ford service area. It was a very poignant weekend – for everybody in the team. Some of these guys have been with Ford and M-Sport since the relationship began back in 1997, but even for those who have not been there so long, there is such a welcoming and family atmosphere inside the team that by the end of the weekend, I don't think there was a single person who hadn't shed a tear, myself included.
Looking back on 2012 overall, I'd have to say it's been disappointing, very disappointing. We went into the year with such high hopes. For me, it was fantastic to be back at Ford again after effectively beginning my WRC career there more than a decade earlier, but although we started off strongly and had a good first half of the season, over the second half, nothing seemed to go right. I don't know, perhaps I was just trying too hard to win.
I think in terms of the pace of the Fiesta RS WRC and Citroën DS3 WRC, there was very little to choose between them. The truth is that as a team, we could have won many more rallies than we did, but we made too many mistakes – and when you are competing against a driver as strong and consistent as Loeb, you cannot afford to make mistakes.
The worst event was Portugal. We were handed that rally on a plate, and we threw it away. Yes, the fight back to finish third in the end was satisfying, but it could have been so much more... Greece was also a strong result that went begging through a mistake, but you can't look back, besides there were some highs too. Monte-Carlo was really good, for instance, finishing on the podium in my first rally back with Ford – that was something quite special. The fight with Loeb in GB was also a lot of fun – it was just a pity he so narrowly beat me in the end!
It has been a fantastic experience working with Ford and M-Sport again. On a human level, this is the best team in the service park, and we have had a lot of good times together. It is just such a shame we have not achieved the results we could and should have done.
A lot of people keep asking me about 2013 now, and the truth is that at the moment, I don't know what is going to happen and what I am going to do. We are talking to a lot of people and I obviously want to stay in the WRC next year, but there is no news yet.
Finally, I just want to say a massive 'thank you' to everybody out there who has supported me this year and throughout my career, to Ford for being such a key part of the WRC's history, to M-Sport for all the hard work that has been put in and to my sponsors, in particular Teng Tools who have been there every step of the way.
Never give up!
To keep tabs on the Ford World Rally Team's progress, simply follow this link: www.wrcford.com