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Hirvonen insists he is still in title contention

Mikko Hirvonen says his World Rally Championship title hopes aren't over, despite seeing Sebastien Loeb claim a fourth win of the season on the Rally Portugal.

With the first third of the season now completed, Hirvonen sits ten points adrift of Loeb in the overall standings after being forced to settle for a fourth podium of the year in second place.

For Hirvonen, the result is a disappointment, the BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver having led the way after day one following a consistent and trouble-free day.

Indeed, while his road sweeping role dropped him back to second on day two, he was nonetheless confident of catching Loeb on the final leg by virtue of his better road position.

However, while Loeb did indeed battle with the rutted terrain on stages 14 and 15, the dust that lingered in his wake proved to be more of a delay for Hirvonen behind, ultimately preventing him from making a victory challenge.

"It was incredibly dusty this morning," he said. "I started the day thinking a win was possible but the dust hung in the cool air and I realised after the opening stage that in those conditions I had no chance of catching Loeb. I hoped to win here but it wasn't meant to be. I think second place was the maximum I could achieve. Eight points is good for me because many drivers scored zero.”

However, while Hirvonen admits he is becoming frustrated to have Loeb ahead of him each time, he insists he is still in the championship fight.

"It's frustrating to see Loeb on top again but I'm not giving up on the championship title just yet – we are only a third of the way through the season. I go to every event hoping to win and without him I would do that! The car was excellent here and I really enjoyed the rally, although it was tough yesterday when I had to clean the road at the front."


Related Pictures

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Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Monza, [Credit: Hyundai Motorsport]
Podium 1st Australian - Molly Taylor (AUS) Bill Hayes (AUS) Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC

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Who Cares - Unregistered

April 06, 2009 8:58 AM

I cannot understand ppl moaning about Loeb winning too much! Man, if you like rallying, just realize you are watching history: the very best rally driver of all times! watch rallies on TV, enjoy the in-board cam images, enjoy the unbelievable precision of Loeb's driving. Hirvonen is fabulous, always close to Loeb, very fast and reliable, and the Frenchman has a very limited margin thanks to Mikko. Latvala is often faster than Loeb, and no doubt he will stay on the road one day, like Ari Vatanen finally did. They are all stepping up their game while dicing with Loeb, which is good for the sport (except Matt Wilson who is hopelessly slow after 4yrs of WRC) And now Novikov, Ogier... fabulous!

yamaha r1 - Unregistered

April 05, 2009 10:15 PM

GIVE UP IT WAS LEOB'S BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED BUT FOR LEOB TO PROVE HIS REAL TALENT HE NEEDS TO LEAVE CITROEN AND TRY AND WIN THE TITLE IN ANOTHER MAKE OF CAR!!!!



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