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Wales - leg 2: Mikko closes on third win of year.

BP Ford number two driver Mikko Hirvonen continues to lead the Wales Rally GB, the final round in the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship, following the second leg on Saturday.

Mikko began the day nearly 40 seconds up on his team-mate Marcus Gronholm and while he had a bit of a slow start and was only fourth fastest in SS7, he bounced back in SS8 and SS9, posting two second fastest times.

He thus returned to the mid-day service in Swansea still comfortably in front, with a 32.6 seconds cushion over his illustrious team-mate.

In the repeat loop in the afternoon the gap remained pretty static, with Mikko posting two third fastest efforts and a second to head to the short super special at Cardiff's Millennium stadium 35.7 seconds in front. He eventually finished the day with a 35.5 second lead.

Despite that cushion though he remains guarded and clearly isn't underestimating Gronholm: "It will be good to wake up in the morning in the lead, but I'm not taking anything for granted," he confirmed.

"Marcus might want to give me one last lesson before he retires so I will have to stay alert and keep the pace high to keep him behind me."

Gronholm meanwhile, who will retire from the sport after this event, continues to pace himself and ensure he remains well placed, should Sebastien Loeb have a problem, something that might give him a chance to land his third drivers' crown.

"There's no stress and no pressure as I can do nothing but wait and see what happens to Loeb," said the double world champion, who won the short Cardiff super special, which concluded the day's proceedings.

"I'm not enjoying driving at a steady pace but there's no plan to push to catch Mikko. It would be stupid for me to do that and make a mistake. My plan is to stay in second. It would be good to win my final rally but that's not my priority - the title is."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06.
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) / Miikka Anttila (FIN), Stobart Ford Focus WRC 06.
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