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Jordan - day 3: First win of year for Hirvonen.

After failing to grab a win on the opening four rounds, BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen made amends on Sunday by claiming the honours on the inaugural WRC event in Jordan.

Mikko left it until the final day though to grab the top spot and on Friday he had what he described as one of the 'luckiest escapes ever', when he went off the road in the second stage, the 20 kilometre-run through Mahes 1.

Despite that scare however, he stayed in touch with the front runners and was fourth at the end of the opening day, 13.4 seconds off Citroen's Dani Sordo, who had led from the start.

On Saturday, Mikko maintained his tactical approach, in order to avoid running first on the road on day 3. Initially it looked as if it might not work, with Sebastien Loeb grabbing P1 and pulling out a 30-odd second cushion after three stage wins in succession in SS9, SS10 and SS11.

However when the Frenchman went out after a head-on collision with Conrad Rautenbach on the road leading to and from Shuna 1, the 27-year-old's plan was back on track.

Indeed Mikko and his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala both overhauled Dani Sordo on the repeat loop in the afternoon and were running 1-2, until they purposely eased off in the final stage.

That 'gifted' Sordo the lead once again and meant he would have to play the road sweeper for the second day in succession - a tactic that gave both Ford's a more advantageous road position for the final leg.

Initially on Sunday Latvala took the lead, but when he hit a rock in SS18 and damaged his suspension he was left to limp through that test and SS19, and lost over 10 minutes. Mikko thus moved up into P1 and he was 5.4 seconds up on Sordo after Wadi Shuelb 1.

Hirvonen then proceeded to stretch the gap further in SS19 and returned to service G, 7.7 seconds ahead, before taking more time on the repeat loop and eventually taking the victory by over a minute.

The result puts him back top in the drivers' championship, as Loeb failed to score drivers' points.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN) BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 07. Jordan Rally winners. April 24-27 2008. [PIC CREDIT: FORD / worldrallypics.com]
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN) BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 07. Jordan Rally winners. April 24-27 2008. [PIC CREDIT: FORD / worldrallypics.com]
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN) BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 07. Jordan Rally winners. April 24-27 2008. [PIC CREDIT: FORD / worldrallypics.com]
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Isolde Holderied. Toyota GT86 CS-R3. Rallye Deutschland safety/zero car [Pic credit: Toyota]
Isolde Holderied [Pic credit: Toyota]
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