Mikko Hirvonen insists he is fully ready for the 'hard fight' of Rally Great Britain as the Ford driver attempts to secure his maiden World Rally Championship title.
Hirvonen goes into the season finale leading defending champion Sebastien Loeb by just a single point as he looks to dethrone the Frenchman – with the Welsh event becoming a case of winner takes all following the results of the penultimate event of the year in Spain.
Four victories this season and a failure to score on only one event – the only time he hasn't finished on the podium this season – have given Hirvonen his best chance yet of becoming champion, but he said he wasn't feeling the pressure.
"I feel really excited about the situation and can't wait for the rally to start, but I don't feel any pressure,” he said. “It will be a hard fight and I don't underestimate the job I need to do. But I have no expectations and because of that I've taken the pressure off myself and put it to one side.
"Although I've won there before, this rally hasn't always been kind to me, but I do enjoy the roads in Wales and know them well. They're fast and flowing, even quicker than my home event in Finland in places. If I had to choose a rally on which to fight for the title then Finland would be my first choice. But Britain would be second on the list. I love driving there and the roads really suit me. At this time of year they won't be covered in ice or snow, so they should be perfect."
As championship leader, Hirvonen will lead the way into the opening day of stages but unlike on some events, the Finn insisted it wouldn't be a disadvantage.
“It's not the sort of rally where there is a massive difference between running first, second or third on the road,” he said. “If it's really muddy then first on the road is the best place to be and if it's dry and dusty then first is also best. So I'm happy with starting first.”