Mikko Hirvonen insists he has plenty more to learn about the new Ford Fiesta RS WRC despite the fact that he will head to Rally Portugal next weekend leading the World Rally Championshio standings.

Hirvonen won the season opener in Sweden before finishing second to Sebastien Loeb in Mexico, putting him seven points clear of the defending champion going into the second European event of the campaign.

The Finn's best finish on Portuguese soil was second place back in 2009 and while is keen to at least match that result this time around, the 30-year-old admits it won't be easy.

"It's a challenging rally," he said. "There are many sections with corners hiding just over crests and it's tricky, but crucial, to ensure the pace notes are accurate. It's a rally in which the more you learn the stages, the more you can identify the sections where you can go faster.

"The roads have a hard base and are abrasive, so tyre wear could be an issue, especially if temperatures are high. The nature of the roads is similar to Mexico but the altitude is much lower in Portugal, so we'll have full power and everything will happen that bit faster. I'm still learning this car and when I hear a pace note, I hesitate a fraction while I understand what speed and gear that note means. My driving isn't totally instinctive yet."



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