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Hirvonen: I want the old Mikko back!
5 April 2010
Mikko Hirvonen was left ruing a 'silly mistake' that cost him any chance of a good result on the Jordan Rally and allowed arch rival Sebastien Loeb to extend his lead in the battle for the 2010 WRC drivers' title.
Hirvonen ended the first leg of the third round in the 2010 World Rally Championship in fifth, but he crashed out less than 3 kilometres into the opening stage on day two and broke his suspension.
Although he could re-join under the SupeRally, he had no real chance to regain the lost time and eventually came home in 20th - the only consolation, he picked up two manufacturers' points for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT.
Hirvonen now drops to third place in the drivers' championship, 6 points behind his team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, who finished second, and 31 behind Loeb – 37 versus 68.
"It was a disappointing weekend," Hirvonen reflected. "I made a silly mistake but that was going to happen at some point. I just wish it hadn't happened here this weekend. It's unlike me and I want the old Mikko back.
"The team did a good job of repairing my car and today I drove carefully, checking my pace notes and taking no risks. It's not the same as when you are fighting for victory and attacking because it's hard to keep the rhythm. The roads were extremely slippery and the most technical of the rally."
Asked what went wrong in the 10.49 kilometre Suwayma 1 test, Hirvonen reiterated that he just got it wrong.
"The stage was going well when I took too tight a line over a crest. The car hit a small gravel bank on the inside of a right bend and the impact threw it into the air and across the road," he explained. "I was lucky not to roll but it landed on the left front wheel and the front left suspension broke. I so rarely make a mistake, I'm disappointed."
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson meanwhile was also gutted to see his number one driver make such an 'uncharacteristic' error: "Mikko's retirement was very disappointing. I feel desperately sorry for him because he was in a good position to challenge today," Wilson said at the end of the second leg.
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