01 Aug 08
BP Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen says he gave away time to Sebastien Loeb through the opening four stages of Rally Finland by driving too cautiously.
The Finn, who currently leads the world championship, trails Loeb by 3.9sec after four stages. But in his team’s service area after SS4 he said he hoped to unlock more speed on the stages to come.
“I’m trying as hard as I can and I’ve been on the limit many times, but my driving hasn’t been consistent,” explained Hirvonen. Some sections have been absolutely perfect but in other places I’m too cautious, braking way too early for junctions and taking it too steady through the narrow sections. The car’s perfect but there is still room for me to improve. Following Jari-Matti’s retirement it’s even more important for me to win the rally and get the maximum points for Ford.”
Hirvonen said he had always anticipated a tough battle with Loeb, but was surprised by the pace of some of the WRC newcomers. “Loeb’s pace is pretty much as I thought it would be, but the time differences between us are small, and I expect it will be close all the time,” he said. “At this point in the rally I was expecting Petter, Chris and Dani to be closer to us, but in fact it’s Urmo Aava who’s third. I think he and Andreas Mikkelsen are both going well.”