10 May 2014
Rally Argentina: Hirvonen to re-start, thanks mechanics
M-Sport's Mikko Hirvonen sends a 'huge' thanks to his mechanics after they repair his Fiesta RS WRC car so he can re-join on Saturday for day two of Rally Argentina
Mikko Hirvonen will re-start under Rally 2 on Saturday for day two of Rally Argentina, M-Sport has confirmed.
Hirvonen crashed out seven kilometres into the first pass of the Santa Catalina-La Pampa test (SS2) on Friday, when he missed a corner and hit a concrete wall on the outside of a tight left-hand corner - damaging the front and rear right suspension of his Fiesta RS WRC.
The Finn was initially pessimistic about his chances of being able to re-join, but once the car was returned to service, his mechanics stripped the car down to its shell and even repaired a section of rollcage to ensure he could take in the second leg.
“I need to say a huge thanks to the mechanics for the great job they did to repair the car. Thanks to them, we can definitely be back on the pace tomorrow [Saturday],” Hirvonen stated. “These things do happen so it's not going to get me down and make me go any slower. We'll go flat out [now], try to get back in the points, and see what we can do in the Power Stage.”
Reflecting on the incident itself, Hirvonen reiterated that it was his fault: “I made a mistake. I don't think that I have ever missed a corner like that. There was a really short, flat-right and somehow I missed the whole corner,” he continued.
“I thought it was flat-out, but obviously it was not. There was only a 30 metre straight after that into a very tight left-hander and I was just carrying way too much speed. There was no way I could stop for the corner. There was a concrete wall on the outside; we hit that and did a lot of damage to the car.
“A big mistake from my side.”
M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson added: “Mikko rarely makes a mistake so this morning was really unfortunate. That said, the mechanics have done a fantastic job – even repairing a section of the rollcage - to ensure he can be back in the fight tomorrow. He's not going to let today get him down, and he has a really good chance of making it back into a points paying position.”
Meanwhile, Hirvonen's team-mate, Elfyn Evans ended Friday's action in fourth, 0.2 seconds up on fellow M-Sport man Robert Kubica.
“It's been a very difficult day to be honest,” stated the Welshman. “The stages are very tricky and it's been fairly rough in places. We've been very cautious and it's been a bit frustrating at times, but when you look at the retirement list [with five works drivers going out] it was definitely the right course of action. We're not paying too much attention to the result, that's not our aim this weekend. Tomorrow will just be more of the same – concentrating on our own rally and our own pace to make sure we get as much experience of these challenging stages as possible.”
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