Hyundai's Dani Sordo says he is disappointed to have finished second on his home RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de Espana, but concedes Sebastien Ogier was just too strong.
Sordo surged into the lead on Friday afternoon, making the most of his road position to build a 17-second cushion, despite the treacherous conditions.
However, on Saturday he was gradually reeled in by Ogier and in the end finished 15.6secs back.
“Really disappointed,” said Sordo, who was aiming to become the first Spaniard to win his home event since Carlos Sainz back in 1995. “I can honestly say we did our best today but we just couldn't do anything to stop Sebastien. I have to extend my congratulations to him.
“We wanted so much to take the win for the team and the fans but he was too strong.
“Still, to finish in second place after such a competitive event is something to be proud of.”
“It's been an incredible weekend [overall] and I cannot thank the fans enough for all the support,” Sordo added.
“It's our second podium of the season and we worked really hard for it. I have been generally very happy with the feeling we've had in the car, both on gravel [on Friday] and asphalt [on Saturday and Sunday].
“The team has done a fantastic job to prepare a competitive car.”
Hyundai team boss Michel Nandan agreed it was shame not to win, but took encouragement from the fact the team finished 2-3-4-7, with Thierry Neuville joining Sordo on the podium, 12.8secs up on Hayden Paddon in fourth. Kevin Abbring finished three spots back in the fourth car.
“We wanted to fight for the win today but it just wasn't to be on this occasion, however we have to be happy with this double podium,” Nandan said.
“Dani has had a fantastic weekend in front of his home crowd and thoroughly deserves this result. To have two crews on the podium, with Thierry taking his fifth podium of the season and now being in close contention for second place in the drivers' championship, is a satisfying achievement.
“It's even more pleasing when we see Hayden taking his best ever tarmac result in fourth and Kevin taking his WRC career best.
“There are many positive lessons we can take away from this rally to make improvements for the future.
“Now though, our focus shifts back to gravel for Wales Rally GB and Australia - we want to finish the season on a high.”