24 Mar 08
Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen says that although running first on the road on Rally Argentina will put him at some disadvantage, he doesn’t believe it will cost him as much time as it did on the last round in Mexico.
As championship leader Hirvonen will again be first in the start order on the opening day. If conditions are dry he is likely to encounter slippery loose gravel on the road surface in the morning, which he will sweep clean for the benefit of those behind.
The most recent time Hirvonen was first on the road was on Rally Mexico, when at the end of the opening day he was 1min 10seconds adrift of the leader - his Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.
“I can't change that situation so there's no point in worrying about it," said Hirvonen. "I learned things about running first on the road in Mexico that will help me in Argentina, but I don't think it will be as big a disadvantage here as it was in Mexico.”
Despite the dubious honour of being first car through the stages, Hirvonen still rates the event as one of his favourites. “Argentina is the greatest country to drive in of any of the WRC rounds,” he said. “The rally is varied, with many different types of roads which make it interesting to drive. The fans are so enthusiastic and on some stages the road is lined with people virtually from start to finish. It's a fantastic atmosphere and something that I really notice from inside the car.”