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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 first third of the season on a real high, by not only taking his first win of the year in Jordan at the end of last month, but also by re-taking the lead in the race for the 2008 drivers' title. Crash.net Radio caught up with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT man to see how he is feeling ahead of the next round in Sardinia...


Crash.net:
Mikko, thanks to that victory in the Middle East you now lead the drivers' championship again, how significant was it?

Mikko Hirvonen:
Of course it was a really important win for me. I lost valuable points in Argentina. It started very well over there, but it didn't end so well. We lost a lot of points and when Sebastien [Loeb] had his problems in Jordan, it was very important for me to take the win and get back the lead.

Crash.net:
The Ford team played it quite tactically in Jordan - will we see that kind of strategy again on future gravel events?

MH:
Maybe - it depends on the rallies and what the situation is on the Saturday evening because I thought I might gain a bit more on the Sunday morning. But in the end we were fighting against Dani Sordo [who was first on the road] and I beat him by only two seconds in that long stage [SS19 - the first run through the 41.45 km Jordan River test]. The difference really wasn't as big as we thought. It depends on the situation and how it goes on the other rallies.

Crash.net:
How do you assess the first third of the year for yourself and Ford?

MH:
I have been waiting to win. I was second in Monte Carlo and I was planning to win in Sweden, but Jari-Matti [Latvala - my team-mate] was really, really fast over there. I am glad I managed to get my first win of the year in Jordan and I am back in the lead again [in the drivers' championship]. That is very good for the whole team.

Crash.net:
It must have been a bit of a relief to get that first win, just how much has it boosted your confidence?

MH:
It did a little bit of course. But to be honest Sebastien was very fast on Saturday morning and he was getting away. I am sure it would have been difficult to fight against him. But we managed to change the car a little bit on the Sunday and now we have a test before Sardinia and so I am pretty confident. I am sure we can find some more speed and maybe get even closer to Sebastien in the coming rallies.

Crash.net:
How are you going to approach Sardinia, Greece and Turkey, the three events before the summer break?

MH:
It is definitely going to be flat-out on all of those rallies. Thinking about the championship it would be really nice to go into the summer break in the lead. I will try and win all of them and if I can win one or two and stay close to Sebastien that would be fantastic.

Crash.net:
Do you like Sardinia, because of course you were second last year there - and in 2006 too?

MH:
It is a very nice rally and I have been there every year the rally has been in Sardinia. I know the roads quite well and there is something about it that I like. The stages are nice. It is not that rough and so you don't need to be too worried about your car or anything. I am really looking forward to it.

Crash.net:
Will the event in Sardinia and the two in Greece and Turkey suit you and the Focus?

MH:
Yes I am sure. Our team is going to be very strong there. Personally for me I have always struggled a little bit to find the maximum speed on those rallies. I have always felt more at home on the faster rallies. But those events are very important and I really need to get some good results and then the rest of the season will be easier for me.

Crash.net:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 07. Jordan Rally, April 24-27th 2008.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 07. Jordan Rally, April 24-27th 2008.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 07. Jordan Rally, April 24-27th 2008.
Timmu Korge. Ford Fiesta R5. auto24 Rally Estonia 2014 [Pic credit: ERC]
Ott Tanak. Ford Fiesta R5. auto24 Rally Estonia 2014 [Pic credit: ERC]
Dani Sordo. Hyundai i20 WRC. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014
Dani Sordo. Hyundai i20 WRC. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014
Simone Tempestini (ROM) Dorin Pulpea (ROM), Citroen DS3 R3
Simone Tempestini (ROM) Dorin Pulpea (ROM), Citroen DS3 R3
Marco Tempestini (ITA) Nicola Arena (ITA), Subaru Impreza
Marco Tempestini (ITA) Nicola Arena (ITA), Subaru Impreza
Molly Taylor (AUST) Sebastian Marshall (GB), Citroen DS3 R3
Molly Taylor (AUST) Sebastian Marshall (GB), Citroen DS3 R3
Bernardo Sousa, Hugo Magalhaes, (Ford Fiesta RRC, #43)
Bernardo Sousa, Hugo Magalhaes, (Ford Fiesta RRC, #43)
Bernardo Sousa, Hugo Magalhaes, (Ford Fiesta RRC, #43)
Michal Solowow (POL) Maciej Baran (POL), Ford Fiesta WRC
Michal Solowow (POL) Maciej Baran (POL), Ford Fiesta WRC

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