Mikko Hirvonen has said that while he understands the reasoning behind Ford's tactical manoeuvrings on the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse, it wasn't the way he wanted to get onto the rostrum.

Hirvonen, who had been on course to take the runners-up pretty much throughout, lost time on the final day when he hit a pothole in the first stage and had to stop to change a tyre, something that dropped him down the leaderboard.

However, prior to the last stage, Ford team-mates Francois Duval and Jari-Matti Latvala both purposely picked up time penalties to bump the 28-year-old back up to second - something that meant not only did he pick up three extra points, but the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT also gained an extra point too.

"For sure it's not the way you want to get to the podium. In the end though, I understand the team's point of view," he reflected. "They want to keep the Championship alive. This is the way they want to play it, so I accept it.

"I really appreciate what Jari-Matti and Francois did to help my title challenge. But it's going to be almost impossible to take the drivers' title now. Even if I win [in Japan], Sebastien [Loeb] only needs six points.

"It's going to be difficult but you never know. As long as mathematically it's possible we will go for it."

Asked about what happened in the first-run through the 31.81 kilometre Agosta-Pont de Calzola test, he added that the puncture was his fault.

"There was a lot of broken asphalt in these stages and I saw a pothole in the distance about 4km after the start," he recalled.

"I decided to drive over it - sometimes you do and sometimes you don't - but unfortunately the impact broke the wheel rim and allowed the air to escape from the front right tyre. I could have avoided it by driving around the hole so it was my mistake.

"[Overall though] I am really pleased with my speed on asphalt and my confidence has improved greatly on this surface both in Spain last week and here. We had good speed on Friday and Saturday - better than Spain, although there's still a lot of work to do to get on the pace with the Citroens."

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