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Hirvonen draws praise for fighting second

Citroen team boss Olivier Quesnel said he had to 'take his hat off' to Mikko Hirvonen after the Ford man pushed Sebastien Loeb all the way to the final test in the battle for victory on Rally Norway.

Loeb had suggested ahead of the event that Ford could hold the upper hand with its driver line-up of Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala and it was Hirvonen who ultimately provided the strongest challenge as the pair swapped places through leg one before Hirvonen conceded his advantage to take a better road position for leg two.

From that point on however, Loeb was able to maintain his lead but Hirvonen ensured the battle went right to the wire before the Frenchman held on to take victory by less than ten seconds.

It was a result that pleased team chief Quesnel, but he was quick to praise Hirvonen for his part in a fascinating battle.

"We began the weekend as outsiders but the rally unfolded much the same way as it did in Finland in 2008,” he said. “Hats off to Mikko Hirvonen. He put up a great fight, and I think both drivers were at the same level here in Norway. It was very close.

“By winning their 20th different World Championship round, Sebastien and Daniel have provided further evidence of their extraordinary versatility. Dani [Sordo] also had a good run. We held him back a bit today because it was vital for us to make sure we scored points if ever Sebastien hit a problem. Once again, he has made a key contribution to Citroën's overall result."

Hirvonen's performance also drew praise from Ford boss Malcolm Wilson, who saw his drivers finish second and third to secure strong points for Ford in the manufacturers' title battle.

"This was a great team performance,” he said. “Mikko gave it everything, and for the result to be as close as it was, is an indication of how hard both were trying.”


Related Pictures

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Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Gus GREENSMITH (GBR) - Craig PARRY (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Gus GREENSMITH (GBR) - Craig PARRY (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Hiroki ARAI (JPN) - Glenn MACNEALL (AUS) Ford Fiesta R5, Tommi Mäkinen Racing
12.02.2017 - Alexey LUKYANUK (RUS) - Alexey ARNAUTOV (RUS) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Jarosław KOLTUN (POL) - Ireneusz PLESKOT (POL) Ford Fiesta R5, C‐Rally
12.02.2017 - Eyvind BRYNILDSEN (NOR) - Anders FREDRIKSSON (SWE) Ford Fiesta R5 Adapta Motorsport AS
12.02.2017 - Podium WRC 2, 1st place Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport, 2nd place Teemu SUNINEN (FIN) - Mikko MARKKULA (FIN) Ford Fiesta R5, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) - Stig Rune SKJÆRMOEN (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5, Printsport
12.02.2017 - Teemu SUNINEN (FIN) - Mikko MARKKULA (FIN) Ford Fiesta R5, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Teemu SUNINEN (FIN) - Mikko MARKKULA (FIN) Ford Fiesta R5, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Teemu SUNINEN (FIN) - Mikko MARKKULA (FIN) Ford Fiesta R5, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Henning Solberg (NOR)- Ilka Minor (AUT) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
12.02.2017 - Stéphane Lefebvre (FRA)-Gabin Moreau (FRA) Citroen DS3, Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT

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