RALLY : Cyprus

Post Rally Analysis - Cyprus
In the end, it wasn’t a great week for me, Nicky Grist and the Ford Rallye Sport team and right now, I can’t think of anything positive about the Cyprus Rally. 
The speed was alright, but we weren’t really worried about that back on the gravel, because the Ford Focus RS WRC has always been quick in those sort of conditions and really, the rougher it is the better. 
We let the rally slip for sure. It all started on the last morning, but that’s the way things happen. We started off in a good frame of mind and put in a very sort of calculated drive through the first stage, so we thought, till we got the times at the end, and that’s when it all went wrong. 
We started off 25s in front of Marcus Gronholm, but we were given the wrong split time for the long one, so we backed off at the end on the rough stuff. After we found out, we pushed harder again on the next stage, cut a tightening left-hand corner on the inside and caught a block of concrete, so we rolled. 
The car’s pretty tough, but we broke the power steering and that cost us a lot more time in the next stage before we got to service. We still had to push, because we werent so far ahead of Tommi Makinen, and then we got caught out by the mud on the outside of a fifth-gear corner and went straight into the bank on SS18. It landed on its wheels, but we went down the stage the wrong way for three corners until Nicky sussed it out. 
It was a very difficult rally. It’s terrible: the amount of bits they’ve had to put on the car is more than Acropolis and Argentina put together and on day two, you were just aquaplaning on the worst stage. You need to draw the line somewhere when you’re running a sprint World Championship event. It’s got rougher every year we’ve done the rally and I don’t think they’ve touched the stages since we were here last September. 
The Peugeot’s genuinely going to be a very difficult car to beat now. We did have an advantage on the gravel before, but now the Peugeot’s very quick and I’m sure that the Subarus going to be as well, so there are two other cars up there apart from ourselves. I’m sure the Peugeot’s going to be the toughest one to beat, especially with their driver line-up. 
I’m not even thinking of the championship now. We just need to get results to get ourselves back up the points ladder a bit. I think Argentina can be good though. If anything, I think we can be a bit quicker than the Peugeot there. It’s obviously very quick in the twisty stuff, whereas the Focus has always been good on the quicker stuff. Again, you’re talking tenths of seconds on stages, not a big, big difference. 
I hope we can stop talking about my broken finger now. It got a bit of grief on the stage just after the power steering went, but apart from that, not a problem. I’m looking forward to being able to say that a bit more in future columns. 

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