M-Sport World Rally Team's Mikko Hirvonen has said he wants to be in the fight for top positions on Rally de Portugal.

Hirvonen was buoyed by his outing in Mexico last time out and was running third before a technical issue put paid to his efforts. Now he is determined to challenge again and to date, on his seven outings in Portugal, he has never finished outside the top-five, except in 2012, when he lost the win on technical grounds.

"I would say that this is an event that I enjoy," Hirvonen remarked prior to the fourth round in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship. "It's quite similar to Mexico in places. The route is really technical and there are a lot of corners over crests so precise pacenotes are really important.

"Of course a good note system is important everywhere, but it is even more so in Portugal. The stages are very unforgiving. The smallest of mistakes can be extremely costly so your lines have to be absolutely perfect.

"The weather can also play a big role here. Some years it is dry and dusty and really hard on the tyres, and other years it can be the muddiest event of the year! Personally, I hope it stays relatively dry so that we can make the most of our road position and really attack through the first day."

"The feeling with the Fiesta [RS WRC] is getting better and better so I hope that we can have a clean run and continue where we left off in Mexico," he added.

"We really want to be in the fight for the top positions, and that's what we'll be aiming for this week," the Finn concluded.


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