BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen topped the times this morning in the shakedown for the Rally Finland, the eighth round in the 2010 World Rally Championship.

Hirvonen completed the 4.46 kilometre test stage in Muurame, 10.26 kilometres from the service park, in 2 minutes 2.2 seconds, 0.1 seconds up on his team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala and Citroen number one driver, Sebastien Loeb.

"The car feels great," Hirvonen told wrc.com. "At our pre-event test we tried so many things, but I didn't have enough time to get confident with the set-up we're going to use. Now I feel ready.

"The shakedown road is definitely better than the one we've used for the last four years. It's really nice, fast and there are big jumps - so a really good stage. Can I win again? Well, let's just say I think we have a chance to fight for it."

Sebastien Ogier meanwhile was fourth, just 0.1 seconds further back, followed by fellow Citroen men, Dani Sordo and Petter Solberg.

Stobart Ford duo Matthew Wilson and Henning Solberg came in seventh and eighth respectively, while Subaru Impreza runner Mads Ostberg and F1 2007 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top ten.

The Rally Finland now begins 'proper' later on today, with SS1, the 4.19 kilometre-run through Laajavuori 1, starting at 18.45 hours local time. The opening day then continues on Friday.

Leading shakedown times:

1. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 2mins 02.2secs M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 2mins 02.3secs M
= Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 2mins 02.3secs M
4. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 2mins 02.4secs M
5. Dani Sordo Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 2mins 02.6secs M
6. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC 2mins 03.0secs A8
7. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford Focus WRC 2mins 04.0secs M
8. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford Focus WRC 2mins 04.6secs M
9. Mads Ostberg Subaru Impreza WRC 2mins 05.2secs A8
= Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 2mins 05.2secs M
11. Khalid Al-Qassimi BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 2mins 06.6secs A8
12. Juha Kankkunen Stobart Ford Focus WRC 2mins 08.4secs M

times courtesy of the official WRC website


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