25 Apr 08
BP Ford team leader Mikko Hirvonen insists that despite finishing the opening day behind his team-mate his Jordan rally is going according to plan.
Hirvonen ended the day in fourth place, trailing Jari-Matti Latvala by 4.9 seconds.
Because he was second in the start order, the 27-year-old Finn had to cope with slippery gravel on the surface but a more serious hazard arose 7km from the finish of the second stage, the 20km Mahes.
"I had one of the luckiest escapes ever," he said. "My pace notes were too optimistic and I came over a crest too fast and went off when the road turned immediately afterwards. There were some huge rocks which I just managed to avoid but I slightly damaged the rear right suspension. It didn't cost much time but the handling felt strange afterwards."
On this afternoon's repeat stages Hirvonen climbed to fourth, winning the final test and lying just 13.4sec from the lead: "Everything went to plan this afternoon. I didn't push too hard because there were many loose rocks in the road and I didn't want to hit one and damage the tyres. I attacked on the last stage to ensure the gap wasn't too large tonight and I'm happy with how it went today," he added.