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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 was on hand to help the 'Blue Oval' unveil its new-look for the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship at the Autosport International Show this week. Crash.net Radio caught up with the Finn there and got his thoughts ahead of the season opening, Rallye Monte Carlo, which gets underway in just two weeks time...


Crash.net:
Mikko, what have you made of the Autosport International Show so far?

Mikko Hirvonen:
To be honest so far I haven't seen a lot. I have only just come and done some interviews and signed some autographs. There is a lot of people though and a lot of stands for different cars and products. Definitely I am going to go and have a look at what is out there.

Crash.net:
What do you think of Ford's new livery?

MH:
It is very colourful - for sure! I need a bit of time to get use to it but overall I think it is OK.

Crash.net:
How has your preparation been going for the new season?

MH:
I took it quite steady over Christmas and the New Year. Last year was very busy and so I just wanted to relax and enjoy being home with the family. We did some testing before Christmas and now we start again next week. So far it [my preparation] has been very good.

Crash.net:
What do you think of the new Pirelli tyres?

MH:
We have done one test for Monte Carlo and one for Sweden as well and for sure it will be different to last season. Now we will have only one tyre compound for the rallies and there will be many moments when we can't choose the right compound for the conditions. It is going to be different. But it is just about which team or driver learns to use the tyres best in the different conditions. I think it will be a good change for the championship.

Crash.net:
Will you have to change your driving style now anti-deflation devices have been outlawed?

MH:
I don't think it will change that much. In tarmac rallies you have to be more careful in the recce and really check the places where you can cut. But they are making the tyres stronger anyway and so on snow and gravel the driving style is not going to change at all.

Crash.net:
You have a new team-mate this year, are you looking forward to working with Jari-Matti Latvala?

MH:
Yeah, he proved his speed last season and there is no question he is going to be very fast this year as well. It is good to have another Finn in the team again. I really had a good time with Marcus [Gronholm] and it makes some small things easier when you can just talk Finnish. I am sure we are going to get along quite well.

Crash.net:
Are you going to miss Marcus and do you think the team will miss his input?

MH:
I am sure everyone will miss him - and his comments and his experience. But he decided to retire and luckily I had two very good years to work with him. Now though times have changed and it is up to us to keep Finland at the top of rallying.

Crash.net:
What are your aims for the season opening, Rallye Monte Carlo? Is it a case of damage limitation and just to try and get some solid points?

MH:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06.
Mark Deans, Malcolm Wilson, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala pose alongside the Focus RS WRC car in its new livery for the 2008 WRC season. [Pic credit: Ford]
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06.
Dani Sordo (ESP) Marc Marti (ES), Hyundai I20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Pontus Tidemand (SWE) Emile Axelsson (SWE), Ford Fiesta R5
Pontus Tidemand (SWE) Emile Axelsson (SWE), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Podium
Podium
Podium
Podium
Podium
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC, #7 Hyundai Motorsport)
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC, #7 Hyundai Motorsport)
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC, #7 Hyundai Motorsport)
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC, #7 Hyundai Motorsport)
Andreas Mikkelsen ,Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC, #9 Volkswagen Motorsport II)
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC, #7 Hyundai Motorsport)
StephaneLefebvre (FRA) Thomas Dubois (FRA), Citroen DS3 R3, WRC3 winners

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