Finnish fans give amazing support
IT'S amazing - anywhere in the world I go rallying I seem to run into Finns.
There I was at the start thinking about the stage and a bunch of happy faces come up to wish me luck and, you guessed it, they were Finns.
We are a nation of only five million people but we certainly love to travel.
I was happy with my performance on the first stage. We were running rally tyres on the bitumen so there was plenty of slipping and sliding to excite the spectators who seemed genuinely interested in what was going on.
I think putting on special stages for the public to see us is important. So much rallying is done at night and far away from the public.
It was good to see the other Subaru drivers all push their cars to the limit.
We all hit the cones on the last chicane when we were sliding on our rally tyres.
No rally is won or lost on these very short stages but it is still good to get an early psychological advantage over the other guys.
I could not speak to the people but I could see the human chemistry - it was very positive. There were lots of smiles.
In rallying you don't get a chance to reflect on how well you did in the last stage, it's how well that you do in the next that matters.
We are off at 4 am for the second leg and I hope the results are just as good.
It's on to the gravel and the back roads now. This is where the really physical side of the event starts and you need all your stamina.
I had a medical in Hong Kong on Thursday just to make sure everything was okay.
The doctor told me my health wasn't excellent - it was elite. So the other guys better watch out, Ari's ready to go the full 12 rounds and 13 if it's necessary!