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Q&A: Mikko Hirvonen - EXCLUSIVE.

by Rob Wilkins


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


Mikko Hirvonen put in a fantastic drive on the Rally Finland recently - and although he ultimately had to settle for second behind his team-mate, Marcus Gronholm, he made the double world champion work extremely hard for his seventh win on the 'Rally of a 1000 Lakes'. Crash.net Radio caught up with the Ford man in the countdown to the next event on the schedule, the Rallye Deutschland, which gets underway this coming Thursday...



Crash.net:
Mikko, Rallye Deutschland is next up. What are you hoping to do there?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It is going to be a tricky rally for us. OK we are going to have a new car, which is a little bit of a question mark, but we are expecting that it will be quite good. We had a good pre-event test and so hopefully we will be able to fight against Citroen, although it is going to be a difficult fight.

Crash.net:
Rallye Deutschland is quite an odd asphalt event and each leg has its own specific challenge. How much harder does that make it?

MH:
It does make it tougher. There are so many different kinds of surfaces. There are the Baumholder stages, which are very dirty - there is concrete, tarmac and lots of holes and stuff there. There are the very fast vineyard stages as well. Plus there is the weather which can change so quickly in Germany. It is going to be a big challenge with the tyres.

Crash.net:
You recently put in a great drive in Finland. I know that is on gravel and Germany is an asphalt event, but how much of a boost is that?

MH:
It was a very fantastic result for the team. We managed to finish one-two in Finland and that puts a bit more pressure on Citroen. Personally though I am waiting more now for Rally New Zealand and Rally Japan, which like Finland, are fast gravel rallies. For Germany we want to just get through it and hopefully take some points away from Citroen. But I am really waiting for the next gravel rallies.

Crash.net:
Were you happy in the end with the runners-up spot in Finland or were you annoyed not to have taken the win?

MH:
For me the result we got in Finland was absolutely fantastic. I tried to win it, but in the end I was second. I managed to stay very close to Marcus though and we had a fantastic fight. It was a very good rally.

Crash.net:
You used the new Focus in Finland - how much of a difference did that make there?

MH:
I suppose it did make a difference. Before the rally when we did the tests for Finland, we didn't really expect that much for gravel. The car feels a bit better to drive on the loose and it doesn't slide so much - it reacts a little bit faster too when you are changing directions, but on the test roads we didn't feel that much difference. In the rally when you don't know the stages so well though the difference was a bit bigger and we were actually surprisingly faster for the event. Hopefully that will be the same on tarmac as well.

Crash.net:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Crash.Net reporter Rob Wilkins interviews Mikko Hirvonen (FIN). Wales Rally GB, 1st-3rd December 2006.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 07. Rally Finland, 2nd-5th August 2007.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 07. Rally Finland, 2nd-5th August 2007.
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium: 1st Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Ola Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium WRC2; Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta RRC

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