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Q&A: Mikko Hirvonen - EXCLUSIVE.

by Rob Wilkins


BP Ford's Mikko Hirvonen has been on a bit of a roll this season and has scored good points in all five events to date, including taking the second WRC win of his career in Norway back in February. He currently lies third in the drivers' championship, only eight points behind Sebastien Loeb. Crash.net Radio spoke exclusively to him recently and got his thoughts on the year to date...


Q:
Mikko, we are five events in now. How do you assess your season so far?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It's actually been quite good. I have scored points in all the rallies and I am really pleased with that. That's what you need if you want to get a good result in the championship. OK, in the last few rallies, I was hoping to do a little bit better but you can't win every time. It is looking good.

Q:
Staying with the events to date, how much of a confidence booster was that win in Norway?

MH:
I rate that win higher than my one in Australia [last year]. It came driving against Marcus [Gronholm - my team-mate] and Sebastien [Loeb]. It gives me a lot of confidence.

But then again, it is quite a specialised rally [a snow event]. I knew that I wouldn't be able to do the same on gravel straight away. I need a few rallies and a little bit more experience on gravel so that I can really fight for the victory.

Q:
The last event of course was Portugal. It ended on a sour note for Ford after those 5 minute penalties. Were you surprised by what happened?

MH:
Yeah, I was really surprised. OK it is just a silly mistake from the team side. Nobody noticed we had illegal side windows and it doesn't really affect anything. But it is against the rules. It is just a shame we lost some points.

Q:
Did you think the verdict was a bit harsh, especially as there was only half a millimetre in it?

MH:
Yeah there was no gain in terms of performance. For me, I think a better kind of a punishment would have been to give some kind of penalty to the team and not the drivers' because we didn't have anything to do with it. But that is the way it is now. We didn't lose so much, at least I didn't. We can't change it anymore.

Q:
There is a big gap now between Portugal, the last event and the next round in Argentina, what is planned for that period?

MH:
It has been a good time for me to do some training and relax a bit. We have some tests just before Argentina, but it has been two and a half weeks now since Portugal and I have just stayed at home. I have been building my old cars and have got all the thoughts away from rallying for a change. It's good to have some time off.

Q:
What's the focus for that pre-Argentina test? Is it just preparing for that event?

MH:
A little bit, but it is more to do with the new car, which we are going to get later on this year. We are going to test some new parts. But for sure, Citroen seems to be very strong - especially with Sebastien on gravel. As such we have to try and find some speed as well - and some driveability with the [current] car on gravel [so that we can challenge him a bit more].

Q:
What are you hoping to achieve in Argentina?

MH:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06. Rally Mexico, 8-11th March 2007.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06. Rally de Portugal, 29th March - 1st April 2007.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06. Rally de Portugal, 29th March - 1st April 2007.
VW 2014 WRC title win in numbers
Sebastien Ogier collects his WRC champion`s trophy at the FIA Prizegiving in Doha
Ford Olsbergs MSE celebrates winning the RX Teams` Championship
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Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
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Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Nasser Al Attiyah, Giovanni Bernacchini (Ford Fiesta RRC, #40), WRC 2 World Champions
Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Nasser Al Attiyah, Giovanni Bernacchini (Ford Fiesta RRC, #40), WRC 2 World Champions

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