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Hirvonen targets podium return in Germany
19 August 2013
Mikko Hirvonen is hoping that a return to the asphalt roads of Rallye Deutschland will bring about a big enough turn in fortune to return him to the WRC podium for the first time in five events.
The Finn has not finished in the top three of a world championship event since Portugal back in April and has slipped to fourth in the point standings behind VW's runaway leader Sebastien Ogier – who could clinch the title this weekend – and Ford pair Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville.
Since the opening round in Monte Carlo, the WRC has been contested on loose surface roads, with a long series of seven rallies on snow and gravel, and Hirvonen is hoping that the switch to an exclusively tarmac event can bring a return to form – particularly after a recent test with the Citroen team.
The French marque has an extraordinary winning streak in Germany. Starting in 2001, when the event was only part of the European Championship and the Xsara T4 prevailed in the hands of Philippe Bugalski, Citroen has enjoyed eleven consecutive wins. Although Hirvonen has yet to sample the view from the top step, he produced a fine performance in his first German outing with the DS3 WRC to take third position a year ago.
“It's a long time since we last drove on tarmac, but testing gave us the opportunity to refamiliarise ourselves with the roads and fine-tune our reflexes,” the Finn reported, “I am looking forward to the start of Rallye Deutschland. It's always a difficult event, but I really like it, especially when the roads are dry. If we managed to reproduce the same pace that we achieved in testing, I think we can fight for a place on the podium. That's the minimum objective.”
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