Mikko Hirvonen says he will be adopting a risk-free strategy on the final day of Rally Cyprus after moving into second place during the second leg of the event.
The BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver endured a difficult opening day and admitted he had taken things too easy on the tarmac stages, but was quickly up to speed on Saturday morning, going second quickest on SS7 before securing his first stage win of the event on SS8 – a time which allowed him to move ahead of Dani Sordo into second place.
While the Finn then lost time to leader Sebastien Loeb in the final stage of the morning, he outpaced the Frenchman through both stages in the afternoon but still finds himself nearly 50 second behind with three stages remaining.
With a large gap behind to Sordo, Hirvonen said he wasn't going to take any 'major risks' on Sunday although he accepted that anything could happen with 82km of competitive stages remaining.
“Conditions changed so frequently this morning that it was hard to find a rhythm,” he said. “Eighty per cent of the roads were wet and damp, and 30 per cent of that was very wet. Because of the muddy roads my start position gave me no advantage this morning, although they dried so quickly that there was a benefit this afternoon.
“The gap between myself and Loeb is too big for me to think about taking major risks tomorrow. But there are two long stages to drive and so I'll try to find a good pace, monitor the split times and see what happens. Those tests will be tough.”
Hirvonen added that the accident for team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala wouldn't change his own approach on the final day, with the drivers' championship very much in his throughts.
“It does not really change [my approach],” he said. “I need to win rallies and finish in good positions if I am going to do well in the championship.”