BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen has said that second place was a 'great result' for him on the Rallye Monte Carlo - and the 'perfect' way to start the new season.

Mikko held a place in the top three from the off on Thursday, inheriting the runners-up spot on Saturday, when Citroen #2 Daniel Sordo was sidelined with turbo problems. It is the first time he has ever finished on the podium at the Principality and that made the result especially sweet.

"Second is a great result for me and a perfect start to the season," confirmed the 27-year-old at the finish. "I've never had a good rally here so to take a podium is fantastic and it almost feels as good as a win.

"I've started the season how I wanted to with a good result.

"I didn't know what to expect from this rally but my plan for the year is to finish second if I can't win a rally. When I moved into second I eased off because I was under no pressure from behind.

"I was uncertain how the news tyres from Pirelli would work. They were good but it's up to me to be careful on the recce when making the pace notes."

Asked if he felt under more pressure this year though, especially as he is now the number one driver for the M-Sport-run outfit following Marcus Gronholm's retirement, he conceded he did feel 'maybe, just a bit' more apprehensive.

"Last year, everybody's eyes were on Marcus and what times he was doing," he explained. "I was more nervous this time. I'm really pleased we started well though. I just had to bring the car home for me and the team, but this time it was nice to get some more points for me as well."

Was he disheartened though to finish so far behind Sebastien Loeb and to be so far off the pace of the Citroens?

"Not really. Okay, we were far behind and we saw early that I can't match the Citroens speed here. Then we tried to put a little bit of pressure on Sordo. I really tried on Saturday morning. Okay, I couldn't match his speed and he took a few seconds straight away. You can't give up though, something might happen and this time it did.

"When Dani had a problem it became a little bit easier. We backed off, drove slowly and brought the car home. I did what I could. Rallies are coming up now where I can be stronger. I feel stronger for Sweden, but we have to see what the weather will be like. If there's a lot of gravel it will be hard for the tyres."

Comments

Loading Comments...