Mikko Hirvonen will look to extend his championship advantage in Mexico as the World Rally Championship leader gets set for his 100th WRC start.

Hirvonen made the perfect start to his 2010 campaign in Sweden by securing victory ahead of main rival Sebastien Loeb, taking Ford level at the top of the all-time standings with a 74th win for the blue oval in the process.

The Finn has yet to win on Mexican soil, with a best finish of third back in 2007, and admits it will be a challenge to run first on the road, although he said he was still hopeful of battling for the win to celebrate his centenary.

"Leading the championship can have its disadvantages, and I now run first on the road for the opening gravel rally of the season," he said. "My rivals have better road positions than me so it will be difficult, but I'll still try to find a way to challenge for the win. I'm not underestimating the difficulties, but I wouldn't swap my win in Sweden for a better start seeding.

"Sweden was the perfect start to the championship for both me and the team. It's important that we build on that in Mexico and continue to take the brave decisions that paid off in the opening round. The first gravel rally of the season is always an interesting one because, with the majority of the championship on that surface, it gives pointers as to how the season may play out."

Team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala also has a Mexican podium to his name and having taken third in Sweden, the youngster will be keen to add more solid points to his tally, although he concedes that the event will be one of the more difficult on the calendar.

"Mexico's high altitude affects the engine's performance and because there is less power, the car takes longer to reach top speed," he said. "It's important to keep the correct line through corners, particularly in uphill sections, because a mistake costs more time than usual while the engine regains its power. The roads are generally wide and fast but there are twisty sections during Saturday's stages. They're not rough, but there are many small river crossings where the water runs down from the mountains that have a concrete base. When you hit them at speed they can damage the car."


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