Ford's Petter Solberg has expressed his frustration following the disappointment on Rally Italia Sardegna.
Solberg was running second overall, 23.4 seconds behind eventual winner, Mikko Hirvonen, when he hit a rock 1.4 kilometres from the end of the penultimate stage on Friday. The impact damaged the car's front left suspension, breaking a cross-member, and thereby ending any hopes he had of challenging for the victory.
The Norwegian was devastated and revealed that it had only happened because he was trying to take it carefully.
“I was happy with second and Chris [Patterson - my co-driver] and I decided we wouldn't push, so I changed my driving style accordingly,” Solberg explained. “[But] in a slow left corner the front wheel hit a rock on the inside. It was quite a shock because the rock wasn't marked in my pace notes. The impact broke the cross-member and there was nothing more I could do.
“I was driving neatly so as not to take risks and to look after my tyres. Ironically if I had been driving faster then the car would have been more sideways going into the corner, and I probably wouldn't have hit the rock,” he added.
Solberg re-joined the fold on Saturday under the Rally 2 regulations, eventually securing ninth place overall, and taking the maximum three bonus points in the event ending Power Stage.
“After retiring on Friday, there was only one thing on my mind and that was winning the Power Stage,” Solberg continued. “On Saturday I drove carefully because I had nothing to gain, but on Sunday I was determined to take maximum points in the Power Stage.
“I knew it would be tight between myself and Jari-Matti [Latvala – my team-mate] because he also wanted to win, and I'm happy to take something away from this weekend.
“It was possible to win this rally but I made a mistake on Friday and that was disappointing for me and the team.
“I'm sad for Malcolm [Wilson] and Ford. I failed and that's the hard part. I always want to do my best and this time I got it wrong, which is quite frustrating. It's time to forget this rally now and think about the final round in Spain. I want to go there and win for the team.”