Finn Hirvonen heads to Spain this week for the WRC season finale still on a high following his success on the Mediterranean island. There he was embroiled in a close fight with team-mate Loeb until a rare error by the nine-time world champion left Hirvonen in the clear and prompted a more conservative run to the finish after several other key rivals also hit trouble.
“To be honest, I had hoped that the scrap with Sebastien would last longer,” said Hirvonen, who will take over from Loeb as Citroen’s team leader in 2013 when the Frenchman goes part time. “I need this kind of contest, where there’s just seconds between the leaders, to keep improving. When I have a big lead and just need to hold position, I can do that. I have been in that type of situation on enough occasions in the past to stay calm and focused. There will be more close contests in 2013, and there will undoubtedly be a new world champion at the end of the year. This first win with Citroen helps me to visualise what I hope next season will look like.”