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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 finished the 2007 season by taking the win on the season ending Wales Rally GB. Crash.net Radio caught up with him to chat about that event, his year as a whole and his prospects for 2008, when he will be thrust into the limelight that much more, as he is expected to lead the BP Ford World Rally Team challenge following Marcus Gronholm's decision to retire...


Crash.net:
Mikko, you finished the season with victory on the Rally GB, your third of the season. How happy were you with your performance in Wales?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I think if you saw the conditions, I am really happy. The Rally GB has never really been good for me - I have never had any good results there and have always been a bit too cautious in those conditions. So in that respect, I really rate the win quite highly.

Crash.net:
As you say, the weather this year on Rally GB was appalling. How much more difficult did that make things?

MH:
Well especially on Friday evening it was very difficult. Let's say through the whole of day 1 there was lots of fog and in all the stages there were problems with visibility. Then we went into the last stage and it was in the dark and that was very hard. There was so much fog and rain you could see only two or five metres in places. You really had to slow down and that is very difficult because even though you know everybody else has to do the same, you don't know how much to ease off. It is very difficult to be patient enough and just try and keep everything together.

Crash.net:
What did you think of the night stages? Were they a good addition to the event?

MH:
It is definitely kind of a new thing in the WRC. I know in the old days they use to drive in the dark all the time and maybe it is not so good for spectators and for TV, but it makes things more interesting. Definitely a lot more things happen all of the time and it is a new challenge for today's drivers - it is quite nice.

Crash.net:
This year you finished third in the standings and scored 99 points. Were you satisfied with the season overall?

MH:
Yes I am and the result in the end was very good. At the start of the year I was hoping I could stay quite close to Marcus and Sebastien [Loeb] in the drivers' championship and maybe challenge them on some rallies, which I did. After Finland I was only 5 points behind Sebastien but then on the tarmac rallies he got a lot of points and pulled out a gap. But overall I am really pleased with how the season went. In the future I need to take a step further and further – and then be even higher next year.

Crash.net:
How much do you think you have come on this year?

MH:
I think I made a step in a few rallies and I managed to get into the fight on a few of the faster events and when I got there I felt pretty strong and confident. I know now if I get the right feeling I can really do well. It made things clearer and easier for me this year.

Crash.net:
Ford brought in the 2007 spec Focus from Finland. How much did that help you and the team?

MH:
It is difficult to say. For sure the car was very good and reliable and everything was improved a little bit. But I think the difference just looked a bit bigger in Finland than in 'real life'. Marcus and I just know the roads and the rally so well there and it was easy to push and go to the maximum in absolutely every corner. We still need to improve the car and of course it is very good at the moment and it is difficult to make a big step, but we need something small all of the time.

Crash.net:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06.
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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