Mads Ostberg has no doubt that he could have hung on for second place in Rally Mexico had his M-Sport Ford not succumbed to mechanical problems on Saturday morning.
The Norwegian retired from the day when he suffered an alternator failure on the road section after the leg's opening test. His Fiesta RS WRC had already been slowed by a clutch failure on Ibarrilla.
Despite that problem, Ostberg had still managed second fastest time behind rally leader Sebastien Ogier and pulled further away from third-placed Mikko Hirvonen.
"Off the start in the first stage, I felt the clutch was a bit strange," Ostberg said. "It didn't pull cleanly off the line. Then I drove for a while in the fast stuff where you don't use the clutch, but then I got into the technical sections where you need the clutch coming out of hairpins and it went straight to the floor. I understood the clutch was gone about halfway into the stage.
"On the road section, we stopped to see if there was anything we could do. We could see the problem, it was a broken fitting going onto the pipe. There was nothing we could do, but it was possible to drive because the clutch was on the plate. We were driving through town when I suddenly had an alternator warning on the dash saying the voltage was low, but this was a different problem. After five minutes it was dead.
"I am 99 per cent sure the alternator would have got us if the clutch didn't - they are two different sides of the car."
This is the second event in succession where Ostberg's challenge for the lead has been hampered by a mechanical issue.
"I was quite angry and very disappointed," said Ostberg. "We took time from Mikko, even with the problem and it could have been quite a comfortable situation and result."