A less than ideal start.
Round one of the Icelandic rally championship, "Orkurallið", This first rally of the season was going to be a difficult one. Daníel and Erika were back and ready for a fight, but me alongside Ísak Guðjóns in the co-driver seat were hopeful that we could give them a good fight. Early on in the race however, we were nowhere in terms of pace compared to Danni and Erika. Stage by stage we kept loosing more and more time and sitting some 49 seconds behind the leaders after the first day. I didn't have my self confidence but I still saw a chance to strike back on the second day. That chance quickly faded away because after the first run through the 23km long "Djúpavatn" stage we lost almost more that half a minute to the leaders. It was a pretty crapy race from my point of view and we ended the race in a very lonely 2'nd place at the end and feeling pretty deflated as a team.
We’re now one race into the 2021 rally season and we didn't get the result we wanted but importantly, we got to the finish with the car in one piece. Unlike past years were we suffered suspension failures in the first rally. Those suspension failures set us back on budget significantly for the past two years but now we still have some funds left to spend on the rest of the season. In this last race we discovered were we need to invest some of this extra budget, we need some much better tire performance. We made the decision very early after the podium ceremony that we would invest in new tires as well as some new wheels that will hopefully last us for the remainder of the season, it all depends on how many punctures I get.
We were using a worn out mix of Hankook and Pirelli tires and coupled with the tires age they would not grip very well on the very slippery "Djúpavatn" stage.
A couple of stages into the race we started to build a small gap to 3rd place, importantly we also managed to keep our nose clean the whole time and never lost any significant time unlike many others who suffered mechanical issues or spun out.
The tires were only partly to blame for our lack of performance compared to first place Daniel and Erika the other big issue was myself. I admit that prior to the event I didn’t feel like my normal self, I was somehow to relaxed. A strange feeling to be sure, especially when so many people and sponsors are counting on you to challenge for the win every race. Even stranger than that was the fact that it took me a really long time to find my groove and It wasn’t until on the power-stage stage that I though a had found a bit of rhythm within myself and the car.
It was however on that stage were I made a tiny mistake and went off the road, no damage was done but I lost significant time and all my rhythm. We found out later that we were up to pace with the leaders on that stage and could have challenged for the stage win which would have given us 3 extra championship points. After the excursion we lost enough time to drop down to third in the stage, 1 second after the second place finishers Skafti & Gunnar.
Although the rally had some negative aspects, I left the race hopeful that we can challenge for the win in the next race.
Onwards and upwards!
Here’s an onboard from the power-stage, you can spon my spin at 10:58. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcmM_-GgiyY&t=109s
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