23 May 08
BP-Ford team leader Mikko Hirvonen says he needs to find his rally ending pace earlier on if he’s to challenge Sebastien Loeb for this year’s drivers’ title.
Hirvonen, second on the most recent round in Sardinia, said his speed on the opening day - when he was one of the first cars through the loose gravel stages - was disappointing. On Sunday morning, however, the 27-year-old took two stage wins and two second-fastest times in broadly similar road conditions.
“There’s room for improvement,” said Hirvonen. “I need to be a lot better on Fridays if I’m driving as first or second car on the road. If I can’t be any faster in that situation then for sure Sebastien is going to take a big lead again and I won’t have enough time to catch him.”
Ahead of two more loose gravel rallies, Hirvonen told wrc.com that the key to improving his speed on the opening day was to take bigger risks. “There isn’t much I can do with my driving; I just need to be a little bit braver,” he said. “Even if it’s slippery I just need go for it and be on the limit. I’ve always been a driver who is at my best near the end of a rally when there’s bit fight. At that point I feel I can do absolutely anything. But I need to find that feeling on Friday morning too - not wait and see how the rally evolves and try and find the feeling later on - I need to fight straight away.”
Hirvonen said he’d be using his new strategy on the forthcoming Acropolis Rally of Greece. “I’m going flat out for a win,” he said. “Sebastien has had some bad luck this year but I can't trust that he'll have it on any other rallies. I need to win rallies too.”
Read more from Mikko’s wrc.com interview by following this link: Mikko’s post rally wind down