RALLY : Spain

Catalunya Rally Analysis
I must admit that I donıt usually enjoy Tarmac rallies that much these days and this one was pretty painful at times, as you can imagine if youıre driving with a broken finger. But because of that, it was pretty satisfying to finish sixth on the Catalonia Rally with Nicky Grist and the Ford Rallye Sport team. 
I guess we got the result we probably would have if I hadnıt had the problem with my hand anyway, but it was a lot harder work when I couldnıt really use my left hand properly. Our mechanics had moved the gearchange on my Ford Focus World Rally Car to the left-hand side, attaching it to the roll cage, which helped, but it was still a lot of strain on the right arm and I took a couple of painkillers on Saturday lunchtime. In some ways, the most painful things were my ribs on the bumps rather than the finger. 
The result was good: we got a few manufacturersı points and one driversı point, but it was a bit of a relief too. I didnıt really know what to expect when I came here ­ how well I could drive ­ until I did the shakedown. After that I was a lot happier that we would be fairly much on the pace. 
It was definitely costing us time though. I had to be very careful in the gravelly places not to get it out of shape and I suppose it was costing us the last two-three per cent.  
I couldnıt just forget about the finger at any time. It kept reminding me if I did! I jarred it a couple times. Sometimes when you turn it a certain way you get a wee bit of a twinge, so you remember. 
Thankfully, itıs all over now. Hopefully itıll be easier next time. Itıll still be giving pain and itıs going to take a long time to get any movement back, but in Cyprus, there shouldnıt be any danger of the bone breaking or opening the wound again. I will use the hand a bit more. Itıs still going to be fairly painful I would think ­ probably a bit more when you start to use it full pressure. 
Thereıs been some talk of banning EMI and other anti-puncture systems on Tarmac, because of the amount of corner-cutting, but I donıt agree. It would be more dangerous, because if you picked up a puncture, you donıt know until you turn into the next corner and you go straight off, so itıs safer with the mousse there. If you donıt have it you still cut in certain places and thereıs a lot more risk of getting a puncture. 
Iım not sure that Peugeot are running away with the World Championship, but at the moment, it doesnıt look great, because Iım sure theyıre going to be quick in Cyprus too and theyıve got a real strong driver line-up on both Tarmac and gravel. Itıs still quite early in the season though and weıll wait and see. 
Cyprus is going to be important. Obviously, weıre going to get a good impression of how the car is going to perform on the gravel and hopefully itıs going to be up there. If itıs not, then weıre going to be struggling, but I think itıll be OK. 

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