25 Feb 08
Championship leader Mikko Hirvonen says he will attack as hard as he can from the start of the upcoming Rally Mexico, despite a road position which might make it difficult for him to match the pace of his rivals.
Hirvonen, whose best finish in his three previous Mexican starts was third last year,will be first in the start order on the opening day courtesy of being championship leader for the first time in his career.
Hirvonen is six points clear in the drivers' table with Rally Sweden winner Jari-Matti Latvala tied with Sebastien Loeb in second.
"First on the road isn't the best place to be in Mexico because there will be loose gravel and stones on the road surface," said the 27-year-old Finn. "It's better to be further down the order where the roads will be cleaner - but I don't mind putting up with that if it means I lead the championship.
“I really don't want to start first on Saturday or Sunday though, and it will be interesting to see if tactics come into play at the end of the first day as drivers try to obtain a better start position for the rest of the weekend,” he added.
Hirvonen’s pre-rally preparations were made at a test at Chateau Lastours in France. The Finn spent two days in the Focus RS, finalising set-ups and testing some new development parts. The test was Hirvonen’s first opportunity to test Pirelli's new ‘Scorpion’ gravel tyre, and he covered around 400km with no punctures. Although Rally Mexico is renowned as one of the hardest events on tyres, Hirvonen said he was pleased with the new rubber and wasn’t concerned about punctures or wear.