Jari-Matti Latvala, who partnered Hirvonen in the factory Ford squad from 2008 until the end of 2011, believes his fellow Finn - four times the runner-up in the WRC title fight - has a “very good chance” to win the 2013 world crown for Citroen.
“For me Mikko Hirvonen is in a very strong position although it will also be interesting to see how Mads Ostberg and Dani sordo are doing,” said Latvala. “But next year is the year when Mikko is having a very good chance. He was improving all the time during the year after a steady start and has been getting faster and faster. I would say he is the driver with the best chance.”
Latvala, who will form part of the three-strong Volkswagen Motorsport operation from 2013, also singled out Ostberg as being one to watch following the progress he made during the season just gone.
“The improvement he did was the best performance of all the drivers,” said Latvala. “He did extremely well on gravel and there was also an improvement on Tarmac. M-Sport is still like a factory team and it’s the first time he is in that position.”