Mikko Hirvonen says the time has come for him to secure a first win in Citroen colours as the Finn prepares for his home round of the WRC next weekend.
Hirvonen should have won in Portugal earlier in the year but was excluded from the results for a technical infringment, meaning his best result this year remains second – a result he has now claimed no fewer than five times since his switch from Ford over the winter.
Having won on home soil back in 2009, Hirvonen has suffered disappointment in the event for the past two seasons but he said he was confident of fighting back to form this time around.
“Obviously, I felt a bit more pressure in 2010 and 2011,” he said, “but each time, the rally didn't go very well for me. This year, my mindset is different. I feel confident because I know that the Citroën DS3 WRC will be formidable on this surface. I can't wait to get racing on the first few stages.
“The city of Jyväskylä certainly goes through a bit of a transformation as the start of the event approaches. Everyone starts talking about the rally and people make extensive preparations for the event, organising their trips to watch stages with their friends and families.
“The closer we get to the start, the more the excitement becomes palpable. In the local newspapers, more or less bizarre predications begin to appear: who will win the first stage, who will go off first, etc. It really is a major event in Finland, because the Finns are truly passionate about rallying.”
Hirvonen added that he was planning to take a different approach to the event this time around as he seeks to beat team-mate Sebastien Loeb to top spot.
“What I can say for sure is that I will be tackling the rally differently to the last two years,” he said. “I am going to be a little bit more cautious at the start. I don't want to my chances to be ruined by Thursday afternoon. However, you can't afford to lose too much time because gaps that open up can be very difficult to close. When it comes down to it, yes, I want to get back on even terms with Seb. I really want to win this rally!”