Mikko Hirvonen was frustrated following Rally Argentina last weekend, even though he admitted second place was a 'good result', given he struggled to set really top times.
Hirvonen ended the opening leg in fourth in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC car and climbed to second on day two to start the final day 43.7 seconds from the leader Sébastien Ogier.
Mikko then had a great chance to take the victory when Ogier rolled on the opening special stage on Sunday and broke his car's power steering. However he was unable to take advantage of that and claim the win as he was leapfrogged by the recovering Sébastien Loeb, who won by 2.4 seconds, despite picking up that one minute penalty on the first day.
Hirvonen now remains second in the drivers' title race, but sees to margin to Loeb go up from 7 points to 13.
“I think in a way I should be happy with second place because my pace was really bad, especially in all the tarmac sections,” Hirvonen reflected. “I don't know exactly what I did wrong - maybe I was pushing too hard and going too sideways.
“I'm quite annoyed Sébastien [Loeb] beat me again by two seconds. We lost a lot of time in those tarmac sections but there was a lot going on in this rally.
“Ogier rolled today, Jari-Matti [Latvala – my team-mate] had a problem, Petter [Solberg] had a problem so second is really good for me. We received presents from some drivers and gave our own presents away to others.
“We have to wait and see what happens now but we are still in the Championship fight, that's good. We are not far behind.
“It can't go on like this all the way through however, otherwise Sébastien will win the title again. I have to try and take victories and beat Sébastien in some rallies, that's the only way to take the title.”
Hirvonen's co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen echoed those thoughts: “This [second place] is the biggest present for me since Christmas!” he added. “Like Mikko said, our performance was not even close to what it should have been. We really lost much time on tarmac and then Sébastien was so quick on gravel yesterday that even with a one minute penalty, he passed us like wind.
“We really don't know what went wrong but this second position is a really good moment for us.”