24 Mar 09
Putting aside their rallying exploits, have you ever wondered what the star drivers of the WRC are actually like as people?
If so, then welcome to our 'ten questions to' spot, where we endeavour to find out what makes your favourite WRC drivers tick.
To get things rolling we spoke to BP Ford Abu Dhabi Team driver Mikko Hirvonen and his co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen, and asked them 10 questions of the type they rarely get asked to discover more about their personalities.
Later this week, we'll bring you a similar interview with Jari-Matti Latvala and his co-driver Miikka Anttila. From then on, we'll work our way around the Service Park to bring you the low down on all the big names.
For now though, here's what Mikko and Jarmo had to say:
Questions to Mikko Hirvonen
1. People describe you as a relaxed person. Do you agree and why?
Yes, I agree with them 100 per cent. Why worry? It doesn't make things any better or change things.
2. What's the best thing about being a father?
There are so many things. We have such fun with the children. Primarily they make you appreciate small things in life and make you realise that you don't need much to enjoy life and be happy.
3. Do you believe in luck and why?
Only a little bit. I think you make your own luck.
4. Describe Jarmo in three words?
Ambitious, honest and not too serious.
5. If you could drive any car in the world, what would it be and where would you drive it?
I would like to have a 1957 Chevy Bel Air and drive it on the original Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles.
6. How many and what sort of cars do you have at home?
I have many... Road cars - three Mk2 Escorts, two Mk2 Cortinas, one Mk1 Cortina, one Ford Anglia, a Mk1 RS 2000 (a very rare car) and a Volvo 142 rally car.
7. What makes you laugh?
When the kids say funny things and manage to say them at the right moment. I also laugh a lot when I'm with the team.
8. What has been the biggest achievements and disappointments in your life so far?
Rally New Zealand 2008 was my biggest disappointment. My two sons are my biggest achievement.
9. What would your last three-course meal be if you could have anything at all?
I can't remember the name of this restaurant, but it's in the old town of San Marino in Italy. It has the most incredible view. So I would want to have a table there. My mum could cook the starter or meat pies. The main course would be Karoliina's chicken with sauce, rice and vegetables. My dessert would be Pannacotta delivered from a restaurant I know in Olbia, Sardinia.
10. Describe how you feel on the start-line of a stage?
Five seconds before the start I'm counting down and I'm thinking about the first corner and then I start to see the whole stage in my mind. I remember some stages better than others and it's easier in some countries than in others too.