RALLY : Greece

Acropolis Post Raly Analysis
Itıs been a while since me and Nicky Grist have won anything for the Ford Rallye Sport, so you can imagine that Iım delighted and obviously relieved as well to have won the Acropolis Rally in our Ford Focus RS. It was a long day today and at the end of an Acropolis, the car gets a bit tired and things seem to rattle a bit more. Itıs just nice to get it all over and done with. 
People have said that I didnıt seem very confident, but that was just because it was so rough, with the rocks lying around everywhere: itıs so easy just to pick up a puncture, break a wheel or something. You can never be sure that youıre going to get through without a problem. 
I think it was slightly smoother than usual the first run over, but itıs the double useage thatıs the problem. It wasnıt horrendous ­ itıs been worse in the past ­ but when you have to drive over it at full speed, it always seems to be worse than it was in the recce and the first time over, and it seems to get rougher as you get towards the end as well. 
It has got quicker, but every rally is the same ­ even the Safari is the same. The cars are a lot stronger. They can put up with a lot more punishment. You can go over these rough places flat out. 
Iım told that Iıve got more Acropolis wins than anyone else, but I promise that thereıs no secret to it. Itıs just getting the car set up right and judging the speed on the rough places. As the car gets stronger, it gets a bit easier; you donıt have to alter the pace on the rough stuff, you can go over it at full speed. I think itıs just that, getting it right and finding the pace, having a good, consistent run and keeping that pace all the way through, which is what we did here. 
Itıs a good rally for the car too. Weıve hardly changed the specification since Argentina, but itıs a different nature of road. Obviously itıs a lot sorer on the car and thatıs where the Focus works very well ­ the sorer the better. 
I must admit that I thought weıd lost the rally on the first stage this morning when we hit the tree. For sure, we were lucky, but we havenıt been carrying much luck for a long time, so maybe itıs our turn to have some and you need luck on this rally. I guess we were a bit lucky that Markko Martin had his puncture too. Thereıs no way weıd have caught him the way he was driving, even after his puncture. He drove a great rally and if he hadnıt had that, Iım sure he would have been on for a win. I think thereıs a chance he gets a win this year. Obviously, this will have boosted his confidence a lot. 
Itıs means something to share the record for the most World Championship rally wins, but the championship points are the main thing. Itıs still quite a gap to Marcus, but the good thing is weıve got the Safari next and itıs an event we should do very well on. 

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