The Finns weren’t, by their own admission, on top form on last month’s Acropolis Rally and suffered a further setback when they crashed heavily during a test in Tuscany recently.
But Lehtinen, who has partnered Hirvonen to victory on 14 rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship, is convinced they can bounce back when the race for the 2012 WRC title resumes in Auckland from 21-24 June.
“You always need to find a positive, and we found a lot about what went wrong and we will be a lot stronger in New Zealand,” Lehtinen said following their second-place finish in Greece. “When you don’t fight at the top it’s frustrating but we are experienced enough to know [Greece] was not our weekend, so we avoid the mistakes and keep the car in place.
“For sure [we are confident for New Zealand]. It’s one of the most enjoyable rallies. You don’t need to worry about tyre wear or breaking the car, the roads are so smooth - it’s going to be a good weekend for everybody.”
After six rounds, Hirvonen and Lehtinen are second in the WRC standings, 30 points behind team-mates Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena.