Five rounds in to this year's World Rally Championship all bets were off. Sebastien Loeb had won every event at the wheel of his Citroen C4 WRC, and looked to be cruising to another world title.
Not so fast. If anyone needs reminding how quickly fortunes can change in the WRC, they need look no further than this year's title fight, which was settled on the final round after an unexpected fightback by Mikko Hirvonen and Ford.
After those five wins, Loeb didn't take another victory for six months. He made uncharacteristic errors and crashed out of events, suffered tyre problems and was excluded on one occasion. Suddenly, his competitive life was tougher than ever before.
The final event, Rally GB, became a two-way dash for the crown, with the winner of the event sealing the drivers' title (Citroen wrapped up the manufacturers' crown with greater ease).
Loeb delivered again - but it was enthralling stuff, as Hirvonen finally emerged as a credible challenger, to the extent that only one other man won an event, Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala.
What a shame, then, that such a gripping battle was so poorly served with television and general media coverage. The WRC's promoters do appear to be addressing this aspect, but progress is slow and painful.
The decision not to adopt Super 2000 style machinery immediately may be the only way of keeping Citroen and Ford involved in the long-term, but - for now - the success of the rival Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in attracting manufacturers and coverage is seriously undermining the WRC's status as the premier rally series.
Just as the sport could do with a new champion to add some spice (not that anyone can blame Loeb for being the class of the field), so it could do with some added razzmatazz.
Drivers' points1 Sebastien Loeb 932 Mikko Hirvonen 923 Dani Sordo 644 Jari-Matti Latvala 415 Petter Solberg 356 Henning Solberg 337 Matthew Wilson 288 Sebastien Ogier 249 Federico Villagra 1610 Conrad Rautenbach 9
Manufacturers' points1 Citroen Total World Rally Team 1672 BP Ford World Rally Team1403 Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team 804 Citroën Junior Team 475 Munchi's Ford World Rally Team 23