Mikko Hirvonen says he feels ready to lead Citroen in 2013 after bringing his first season with the team to a close in Spain last weekend.
The Finn clinched his tenth podium finish of the season with a third place behind team-mate Sebastien Loeb and former Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.
Hirvonen was already secure in second place in the standings prior to the event and he will now aim to emulate Loeb in challenging for the crown with the Frenchman standing down from his full-time drive for 2013.
Speaking after the Spanish event, Hirvonen said he felt he had settled in well with his new team this year and was now ready to lead Citroen into a new era without the man who has taken it to multiple titles over the past decade.
“It's been what I expected,” he said of his 2012 campaign. “I'm never happy until I'm winning. There's still room to improve, but I set some goals and we got them. I wanted to help the team win the manufacturers', we got that and I wanted be as close to Seb on as many rallies as possible and I wanted the gravel pace to be good. As well as this, I feel I have settled well in the team and I'm happy.
“I feel really, really good [about being team leader in 2013]. On gravel I am sure I'm ready for the fight.
“It's going to be quite a different season, with Jari-Matti and Sebastien Ogier in a new team with VW – it's going to be exciting to see the pace of the new car and I'm really happy to be part of such a strong team. I'm going to be ready and I'm really looking forward to it.”