I swapped the directions for pace notes and prepared to navigate my first ever rally stage.
The rain drummed on the windscreen and formed rivers of mud on ground that was already saturated. The treacherous conditions would later see Jari-Matti Latvala crash heavily. Just the start for a novice.
Shouting out upcoming corners over the noise of flying gravel underneath the car, the tight and narrow corners arrived faster than my lips could move.
“Er lost,” I said apologetically over the intercom, as Jardine continued, second-guessing hairpins and blind crests.
A junction marker brought me back to the right point, and we were back on the pace. This time, I was talking faster, a wide grin on my face as we slithered through the stage at Elsi.
As the day went on, through the hairpins and crests of Penmachno, the loose surface of Slate Mountain, and the mud of Dyfnant, I stopped losing my place quite as much (although I did turn two pages by accident and almost directed us into a hedge).
It looked like the practice had paid off, as we climbed into the top ten and pushed through the stages brimming with confidence.
Jardine jacks the car to fix destroyed tyre
Then we were suddenly facing sideways on a straight. A puncture 2km from the end of the stage threatened to end our run. Metal clanked on stone as the tyre disintegrated and we limped to the end, pulled over and yanked open the boot to pull out a jack and spare tyre.
The four-minute tyre change was reasonable but left us with just 40 seconds to spare for the final stage of the day. We pulled on our helmets and pushed on.
Our pace kept us in ninth position of the National Rally overnight, out of 58 competitors. A top ten finish is still on — if we can avoid temporary traffic lights on Saturday.