At this point, most of you know how the championship decider of last year went. It was a thrilling finale between the top three crews that year, Ragnar & Bragi, Baldur & Heimir and myself and Ísak. Each one of us had won a round that year and the points couldn’t be closer between us.
I want to reflect back on this round and just what caused the lack of pace, or was it just my driving?
My competitors were not to be underestimated. We knew that much going into the rally so our strategy was very simple. We saw that I had come a long way in terms of my consistency, so we wanted to try and control the fight from the back. We started pretty strong or exactly the way we wanted. We saw that the fight was very close when the times came in from the first stage, we had equalled the best time with Baldur and Gröndal only a few seconds behind. The drive was very measured through the first stage so I was very confident that I would be able to increase the pace further. Going through the next stage I may have been just a smidge to careful because I dropped to third on the timesheet.
I became a bit concerned.
Coming out of the third stage I dropped even further from the leaders. Perhaps the other two started out cautiously because they had managed to increase the pace more than Ísak and me. Now, this event was a bit different compared to a normal rally in the way that it was one relatively short stage driven back and forth six times. Once the crews had been through once or twice they all had a good feel for the grip. This coupled with the fact that I had yet again switched co-drivers between events put me slightly on the back foot for the rest of the rally.
As the stage times came in, the gap from the leaders increased. Baldur seemed in control at the front but only slightly. We’re only talking about seconds here, that’s just how close this battle was.
Over in our Evo X things weren’t looking as good, come the end of the 5thstage all I could hope for was a puncture or a mistake from the leaders to be able to take the championship. As luck would have it (at least from our position) the leader, Baldur suffered a puncture on the very last stage of the rally and lost the lead as well as dropping behind us to third.
That’s how the championship ended, in tears for some, happiness for others and in mostly frustration for myself.
This year had started unbelievably well for me with a podium in the Cadet class at the Pirelli Rally. Even though we didn’t manage to keep fighting in the BRC we still had a massively successful run in the Icelandic championship despite missing the first round. But at the very end, where only pure driver skill could grant us the ultimate victory, I lost.
So in answer to my initial question, sure there were other factors like a poor suspension setup and another co-driver change, which didn’t help. But I think it was mostly due to a lack of pace and aggression that I didn’t win the championship.
This is the main thing that upsets me when reflecting on 2018, regarding my own performance. I seem to be able to fight for the lead when all the extra factors are at play but when it comes to sheer pace, I’m lacking.
So what can I do you might ask, well I don’t exactly know but I can see exactly were I need to improve myself. That’s the first step in progressing in any sport and for preparing for the upcoming season.
As for 2019 I will be competing as much as I possibly can and this time we won’t be joining any championships after they start.
I’ll leave you with this,
There is nothing more frustrating than not having an answer to your opponents overall pace, and I don’t intend to let it happen again.
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