13 Jun 08
Leader of Rally Turkey after SS4, Mikko Hirvonen, says he wouldn’t mind losing the position by the end of Friday’s competition.
On the two most recent stages (SS3 and SS4) the Finn has come under increasing pressure from his own BP-Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, who now lies just 6.9sec behind in second.
But at the service park after SS4 Hirvonen acknowledged the road cleaning in Turkey meant there were benefits to dropping positions and not running as first car through Saturday’s stages.
“Yes, Latvala’s getting closer but if he passes me today that’s okay,” said Hirvonen. “Second in the start order has made a big improvement for me because the road conditions are better. My priority now is to keep a good speed. If I’m not leading today that’s fine; if there are one or two guys ahead of me that’s good.”
Hirvonen started the day fourth in his Focus RS and was fourth on the opening 22.43km Perge test to move into the lead. He was then fifth through the following 24.15km Myra and rounded off the morning with fifth in the 9.90km Kumluca.
"My only problem has been dust in the car,” said Hirvonen. “About 7km from the end of stage three there was a large impact under the car and since then it has been full of dust. The impact made a hole under the floor behind Jarmo's seat and it was hard to see. We need to block it up because it's like a sandstorm!”