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Q&A: Mikko Hirvonen – Citroen

Citroen's Mikko Hirvonen speaks exclusively to Crash.net's Rob Wilkins ahead of this weekend's Wales Rally GB
Mikko Hirvonen made the move to Citroen this season and ahead of Wales Rally GB, Crash.net's Rob Wilkins spoke to him about his year to date, his hopes for the remaining events and got him to look to 2013...



Crash.net:
Mikko, just three rallies to go now after this weekend's Rally GB, how pleased have you been with your form this season?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I am quite happy. I am a little bit disappointed I haven't been able to take my [first] win with Citroen yet. But we have been close and we have had good points. We are still missing the win, but otherwise, we have had really, really good pace and have been really consistent and so has the team. I have to be happy with that.

Crash.net:
How important is it for you to win an event this year, is it essential?

Mikko Hirvonen:
The target is to take one. But I am not so concerned about it. At least on many rallies we have been on the pace that we have to be. In some rallies we have just lost by a few seconds or we haven't been fighting all the way through [due to team orders]. At least we have been there, that is the main thing. I really wanted to be at least close to Sebastien [Loeb]'s pace in as many rallies as I could and it has been really good [to have done that]. In that way I am quite happy.

Crash.net:
What's it been like working with Sebastien and observing the WRC's most successful driver ever first hand? It must be quite interesting...

Mikko Hirvonen:
Yeah, it has been. I was really excited about that at the start of the year. I have always got on with him really well and now I have finally had a chance to compare the data and look at his way of driving and compare my driving style as well and what the differences are on that and on the set-up. It has been a good thing for me and I am starting to get through it. I am really happy with that.

Crash.net:
Have you picked up any tips?

Mikko Hirvonen:
Yeah a few, but I am quite surprised how close our driving styles are. The differences in braking are the main thing and then the other biggest area where he is taking the seconds is he is just so unbelievably consistent all the time. For me that is his main strength. Okay he is really, really fast. But he is consistent as well, very consistent [on every stage]. That is the biggest thing for me to improve.

Crash.net:
Is Loeb beatable?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It has been difficult in the past eight years. But sometimes it is possible and like I said after Rally Finland, a perfect rally against him is not enough. It has to be absolutely perfect, or even better than that. He is beatable, but it needs some very good driving, that is for sure.

Q:
How do you feel you have settled in at Citroen after so long at Ford?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It has been quite a change. But I am really happy I took the opportunity. It was a good chance to be part of one of the most successful rally teams and I think I have learned a lot. In a way after all those years I drove for Ford, even though it was a shame to leave all the friends and all the boys behind, in a way I felt like I needed a change. It has been really good for me. I am really happy how things are at the moment.

Crash.net:
Has it been easier or harder than you expected making the switch?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It has been pretty easy. The team has helped me a lot with that. I thought it would be a lot more difficult to settle in a French team. But they have made me feel really welcome and have been helping me with many things. It has been good and maybe easier than I first thought.

Crash.net:
How does the Citroen DS3 WRC and the Fiesta RS WRC compare?

Mikko Hirvonen:

by Rob Wilkins



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Citroen DS3 WRC

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