01 Mar 08
Mikko Hirvonen lost almost three minutes on SS12 as a result of a high-speed collision with a rock near the start of the stage.
Hirvonen was just two kilometres into the 29km Ibarrilla test when the right-hand front wheel of his Ford Focus struck a rock on the inside of a fast corner, bursting the tyre immediately.
Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen stopped to change the wheel, but soon after they were moving again realised the right-hand rear tyre was losing air too - albeit at a slower rate. The pair continued on despite the deflating tyre, which affected the handling of their Ford Focus RS WRC07 and led to a spin near the finish. Hirvonen fitted his second spare tyre on the road section to SS13.
Henning Solberg benefited from Hirvonen’s misfortune and moved up into fourth place, while Hirvonen dropped to fifth.