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Q&A: Mikko Hirvonen - Ford: EXCLUSIVE.

by Rob Wilkins


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


Mikko Hirvonen was the big star at the recent Castle Combe Rallyday and while he is currently eight points behind Sebastien Loeb in the battle for the 2008 drivers' title, with four rounds still to go and 40 points up for grabs it is by no means over. Crash.net Radio caught up with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team man there and got his thoughts ahead of the coming back-to-back asphalt events in Spain and Corsica...


Crash.net:
Mikko, this is your second time at the Rallyday. What have you made of this year's event?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It is good. It feels like there is even more cars than two years ago. Obviously the weather is a lot better - last time there was heavy rain. It is really nice.

Crash.net:
The World Rally Championship is now entering its final phase and while you are behind, you are still in contention.

MH:
You never know what is going to happen. Obviously if Sebastien doesn't have any bad luck and he finishes the rallies like he normally does it is going to be very difficult to take the title. But I don't have much to lose and I am just going to go for it and then we will see what happens.

Crash.net:
How crucial are the two asphalt events coming up in Spain and France?

MH:
Well they are critical. In Japan and GB I am going to be strong and I have a lot better chance to beat Sebastian on those events than on the tarmac rallies. Hopefully we can find some speed though in Spain and Corsica, which will enable us to beat Sebastian on asphalt as well. He can't get away. I need to finish those rallies and try and get as many points as I can.

Crash.net:
Do you think you need to win in either Spain or France?

MH:
It would help for sure and that is what I will try to do. But against Sebastien it is going to be tricky. As I said though, there is nothing to lose. We will see.

Crash.net:
After those two asphalt events, as you said it is back to gravel. If you can stay in touch post-Spain and post-France do you think your chances will improve?

MH:
They will yeah. Jari-Matti [Latvala] is going to be very strong on those rallies as well and there is a chance he could maybe help me and be ahead of Sebastien as well. That would be really good. But we need to do these tarmac rallies first and then see what the situation is.

Crash.net:
Of course the team introduced the new 2008 spec Focus in Germany. Has that made much difference?

MH:
A little bit. There are some small changes with the weight distribution and with the engine. It always helps. But we have driven the same car now for two and a half years and when you get a new car it is easier to do big steps forward. Now it is just fine-tuning all those details and so it doesn't make a massive difference.

Crash.net:
There are rumours Marcus Gronholm might come out of retirement next year. What do you think of that?

MH:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen. BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT. Rallyday 2008. Castle Combe. September 20. [PIC CREDIT: Andy Crayford - BangerPhotos.com]
Mikko Hirvonen. BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT. Rallyday 2008. Castle Combe. September 20. [PIC CREDIT: Andy Crayford - BangerPhotos.com]
Mikko Hirvonen. BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT. Rallyday 2008. Castle Combe. September 20. [PIC CREDIT: Andy Crayford - BangerPhotos.com]
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