Citroen number two driver Mikko Hirvonen has insisted Rally GB was not a 'total disaster' even though he finished a distant fifth.
Hirvonen had been hoping to mount a challenge for the win in Wales and confirmed as much to Crash.net
in the build-up to the event [see separate story - HERE
]. However the Finn was a frustrated man at the end of day's one and two, as he struggled to match his team-mate, Sebastien Loeb and the Ford's of Jari-Matti Latvala, Petter Solberg and Mads Ostberg. Although he did find more pace on the final day and finished on something of a high by taking the Power Stage honours, it was still far from the result he craved.
“It has been a confusing weekend,” Hirvonen admitted. “I was really struggling for pace early in the rally. But today I have felt more confident.
“I often get called 'Sunday Times', because I always set good times on the last day! There is no question that the grip has been a lot better [today], so I have felt more confident and that has been reflected in the times. It's good to finish the rally on such a positive note [by winning the Power Stage too].
“I am happy we are here at the finish and the pace has been getting better as well. It hasn't been an easy weekend. We need to learn from this rally, but it was not a total disaster [either] and it is a very good overall result for the team in terms of the two championships,” he added.
Indeed Citroen are now guaranteed the drivers' championship, as only Hirvonen has a mathematical chance of stopping Loeb from clinching his ninth title in France next month.
“At the start of the season, we stated that our goal was to retain the Drivers' and Manufacturers' titles. Thanks to the result we have achieved here in the UK, only Seb or Mikko can now win the Drivers' World Championship. So, we have achieved our first goal, and we have also moved a little bit closer to the second one,” summarised Citroen team principal, Yves Matton.
“At the same time though, we shouldn't forget that we weren't always the quickest this weekend.
"We will therefore keep working to try and make progress on this particular type of surface.”