In Mads Ostberg's latest exclusive column on Crash.net, the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team man looks back on Rally Finland, where he got back on the podium...
Now that is what we are talking about! I was so
pleased to get back on the podium in Finland. Finally it worked out for Jonas [Andersson - my co-driver] and I. We had an almost problem free-run throughout the whole weekend and it was such a pleasure to end up on the rostrum. Sweden – the last time we were up there – seemed like a long time ago and after the way things had gone in the first part of the year it was definitely a bit of a relief...
I didn't feel under too much pressure, however, going to Jyväskylä. I had had a really good holiday before and just tried not to think about it too much. It clearly worked.
The event started well and it all felt good after the recce and practice. I was hoping for a better in qualifying, but wasn't too concerned – it was what it was.
Then on the opening day [the Thursday] we had a pretty perfect start, setting good times in every test really bar SS6, the short 2.06 km Killeri super special. We also had an off in SS4, yet we still ended the day third, only 8.9 seconds off the leader. That was very encouraging. We didn't have many competitive kilometres – the first day was only 40 or so kilometres in total – but it still felt great to be back fighting for the top positions.
On Friday we continued to push and it was really pleasing to hold the lead at the mid-day point, even if our lead was only a slender 0.8 seconds over Sebastien Ogier. It is always good to be top on an event, no matter who is second.
The afternoon though, wasn't quite so good. It was quite rough out there and we hit a rock in SS14, the penultimate test of the day. We will never know what might have happened without it, but it can happen to anyone and unfortunately it was me and [team-mate] Thierry [Neuville], who suffered this time. Were it not for those punctures, who knows, maybe we would have seen a three-way battle for the win as opposed to a two-way battle for second...
The fight on the last day was still good fun however, but in the end I had to settle for third after encountering a big rock in SS22 – the second-run through the famous Ouninpohja. It could have been worse though, and if I had hit it I think it could have been game over.
Overall it felt really good to be able to fight all weekend. The Ford Fiesta RS WRC car was perfect. Our testing paid off, and it was just great fun to drive. We had a really good test before the event and that meant that we came to the rally confident in the car and set-up. Of course it was disappointing at times, but I made it onto the podium with my team-mate, so I'm happy! It was just the way we wanted to start the second half of the year and puts us back in the game.