by Rob Wilkins

Gigi Galli believes that fellow Ford runners Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala will make life difficult for Sebastien Loeb this year, as the Frenchman bids to win the WRC drivers' title for a record fifth time.

Galli, who will drive for the Blue Oval's 'B' team in 2008, added that he thinks Hirvonen is ready now to challenge Loeb and mount a championship bid of his own.

"After Marcus [Gronholm]'s retirement, Seb will be favourite, the number one, for the title," the Italian told Crash.net Radio, "but, for sure, Mikko and Jari-Matti will try to make his life not so easy. In 2007, Mikko showed very, very impressive pace - and I think he is ready, yes [to challenge Seb]."

Asked about the new season in more detail, the Stobart Ford new boy noted that the changes on the tyre front will certainly make things more challenging.

"It will be another key factor for the season," he continued, "We don't know exactly yet how it will be, how much we will be able to cut [the corners], how strong the tyres will be and so on.

"After driving a few years with run-flat mousse things will change now. I don't know how exactly - but it will change. I think the driving style will change and we will have to try and avoid punctures."

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH GIGI GALLI : CLICK HERE

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