Eric Camilli says he will not allow an early exit from his maiden World Rally Championship outing hamper his motivation despite being forced to retire from the Monte Carlo Rally.
Stepping up from WRC2 but otherwise little-known, Camilli nonetheless gave a glimpse of the pace M-Sport team owner Malcolm Wilson had hoped he would show by setting top six stage times through Friday's morning loop.
On the pace of team-mate Mads Ostberg and up to eighth overall, Camilli's rally would come to an abrupt end on SS6 through Corps – Beaumont when he slid into a ditch at low speed on ice. The same bend had earlier in the day caught out Robert Kubica and Hayden Paddon.
Frustratingly for Camilli, who was hoping to gain experience by restarting under the Rally 2 regulation, damage to the Fiesta's roll-cage has forced M-Sport to withdraw the car. Nonetheless, he is still taking positives from flash of early form.
“Last night we learnt many things – about the car and about the level of the WRC – so this morning I was able to push more. I was really pleased with the times that we were able to set because, if I'm honest, it was a bit of a surprise!
“But it didn't go our way this afternoon. I really wanted to finish the rally and I think that was the problem because I was driving far too carefully – far too slowly – on a section of ice. We made the corner, but when we took the cut it dragged the car off the road and into the trees; we were really unlucky that the impact damaged the rollcage.
“Of course I am disappointed that my rally has ended early but this has not reduced my motivation. The time that we showed this morning has shown me that we have the potential to be fast one day and this was by no means a bad rally for me. We will take the experience from this weekend and we will build on it for the future. My ambition is higher than it has ever been.”