Mikko Hirvonen has pledged to come back 'stronger' and 'better' next season, after missing out on the 2009 WRC drivers' title on the Rally of Great Britain last weekend, the final round in this year's World Rally Championship.
The BP Ford
Abu Dhabi number one went into the event in Wales ahead of Sebastien Loeb
in the drivers' championship but, in the end he was unable to beat the Frenchman and finished with just one point less.
Despite that though, the 29-year-old was still generally pleased with his season, especially as things looked to be a bit of a foregone conclusion back in April and following the Rally Argentina, where Loeb won his fifth event in succession.
"For sure I am disappointed. We got all the way here and at the start of the rally it was all fair and we had the same chance as Sébastien but we just couldn't do it in the end," Hirvonen reflected.
"It's been a great season though; very consistent all the way through and I haven't made any mistakes, except those few stages on Saturday morning - and I think that's where I lost it.
"Maybe in the end I wasn't having the same rhythm and attack through the rally. The first splits I had on Saturday I just couldn't believe how much time I was losing and you start to think that maybe there is something wrong with the car.
"I couldn't believe I was losing so much with my driving. I thought there was something but the boys checked the car and it was fine. It must be that those few stages just weren't for me, and that's where I lost the fight.
"However, I never thought the title battle would go right to the end. OK, at the start of the season I thought we were experienced enough to fight for it, but it didn't start well. Sébastien was winning all the rallies and then after Argentina I gave up.
"But then things went wrong for him and he made small mistakes and had problems so it gave us a chance to come back for the fight. So that was good and for sure it was a really exciting end for the season. But once again he was just a bit faster and took his sixth title.