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Q&A: Mikko Hirvonen - Ford: EXCLUSIVE

21 July 2008

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH MIKKO HIRVONEN: CLICK HERE


Mikko Hirvonen finds himself in uncharted territory this year, fighting tooth and nail for the World Rally Championship drivers' crown with the reigning 'king' Sebastien Loeb. As he heads now to Finland, for his home event and the ninth round in the WRC, he does so as championship leader. Crash.net Radio's Russell Atkins spoke to the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team man recently at the Goodwood Festival of Speed...


Crash.net:
Mikko, how are you enjoying being here at the Goodwood Festival of Speed?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It is really relaxed. We are doing some driving and having fun with the cars, signing some autographs and talking to people. It is really, really good.

Crash.net:
Are you taking the car on both the rally stage and up the hill?

MH:
Yeah we are doing both - the hill climb and the rally stage. Okay, the car has not got gravel suspension, so we are just sliding around on the hill climb - but I am sure it is good fun for the spectators.

Crash.net:
Obviously looking back on the year so far, you must be very pleased?

MH:
It has been a fantastic first half. We are leading and while there are some tarmac rallies coming, there are some very good gravel rallies to come too. I think it is going to be an interesting fight now in the second half of the season.

Crash.net:
Did you expect to be in this position at the start of the year?

MH:
I thought if everything goes perfectly we had a chance to fight against Sebastien. It's not been perfect, but he has had some problems as well. I think we have just been consistent enough scoring points in every rally and here we leading.

Crash.net:
Sebastien Loeb is a very tough rival isn't he?

MH:
He is very difficult to beat. But I am going to give it my best shot.

Crash.net:
What are the strong points of the Focus compared to the Citroen?

MH:
Both cars are very reliable and that is why we are so close in the points. We haven't had any problems really with the car to slow us down. That is one of the key things nowadays.

Crash.net:
You mentioned the asphalt events coming up. Sebastien Loeb traditionally does very well on those rounds. Can you beat him on tarmac?

MH:
It is going to be very difficult. He has been the man to beat on tarmac for the last two to three years. We will see what I can do.

Crash.net:
Obviously the next event is Finland and that is a special one for you as your home round. What do you think you can achieve there?

MH:
I can't wait to go there. I go to Finland for the first time as the championship leader and I definitely want to try and win it. It would be my first time [if I do win there]. Hopefully I can keep Sebastien behind and get more points than him.

Crash.net:
The fans should give you a great reception there I am sure.

MH:
Yeah, it will be fantastic.

Crash.net:
Looking to the end of the season, how confident are you that you will be able to fight for the title and even win it?

MH:
It is going to be really exciting. It is 50:50 - anything can happen. There are four gravel rallies and I know I am going to be strong on those events. If I do well on the tarmac rounds too there is a chance.


TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH MIKKO HIRVONEN: CLICK HERE


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