M-Sport number one driver Mikko Hirvonen has admitted he has never had so much trouble with his pace-notes as he did on Rally Poland last weekend.
Hirvonen messed up his notes in the recce - they were generally too slow for the fast stages - and that left him on the back-foot throughout the four-days, finishing Friday a disappointing seventh in his Fiesta RS WRC car more than a minute off the leader, having haemorrhaged time.
He kept it together though on Saturday, and with a number of his rivals having problems - in SS14 in particular - the Finn was able to profit. Indeed he ended the day in P4 overall, a position he just managed to keep at the finish on Sunday, holding off the hard-charging Jari-Matti Latvala by a slender 0.7 seconds.
“It was a tough struggle this weekend,” Hirvonen said after the final stage. “I have never had so much trouble with my pace-notes but the final position wasn't too bad.”
Speaking back in service, he added: “It's been a really difficult weekend. It all went wrong on the recce and we had to play catch up from there. That's the way it was and we just had to deal with it as best we could.”
“My pace wasn't as good as it should have been, but I stayed out of trouble and just tried to do my best,” he continued.
“Many people had problems this weekend and we were able to capitalise on that and score some good points.”
M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson added: “It's been a difficult weekend for Mikko and rare for him to make a mistake on recce. He coped well with the situation, however, and refused to give up the fight.
“For that, he has been rewarded with a solid points finish.”