Mikko Hirvonen reported possible transmission problems following SS8 and SS9 of the Rally of Great Britain this morning, but following the mid-day service his engineers were left scratching their heads.

The BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT #1 was on it initially and was fastest in Rhondda 1, SS7, to close the gap on title rival Sebastien Loeb.

However, the Finn was only third fastest in the 14.99 kilometre Crychan 1 test and the 18.37 kilometre Halfway 1 stage, dropping more than 10 seconds in each to return to Cardiff for service D 25 seconds off P1.

"It was a great start but something wasn't right on the next two stages," Hirvonen reported. "I couldn't make good times and it felt as though something was perhaps jammed in the transmission.

"On long straights and at the exit of corners it felt as if there was something slowing me down.

"We won't know what it is until the team looks at the data. The difference is big now and I don't know if there are enough kilometres left to take that time back, but it's not over yet and this is a very tricky rally."

Following service though no problem could be found and while all four dampers were changed as scheduled, Hirvonen will now have to go for it on the second pass.