Hirvonen began Sunday’s final stage seemingly well cushioned in second, and on course to collect 18 manufacturers’ championship points for Citroen, until he lost almost a minute with a punctured left-hand rear tyre [pictured] and dropped to third.
The incident was the latest in a miserable run of form for DS3 driver Hirvonen, who began the season as one of the title favourites but who is placed a lowly fourth in the standings after failing win a rally.
“It happened when Mikko was in the middle of the road, taking no risks.” Matton told wrc.com. “I’m really disappointed for him. He did a great job. It’s really since the beginning of this year for sure Mikko is not really lucky, and a lot of times he is doing a good job and the result is not there.”
Hirvonen, meanwhile, had no explanation for the mystery puncture. “We were on a long straight then we felt a big vibration and I knew we would lose the tyre sooner or later. It’s really disappointing. It was quite a good weekend until that – we were comfortable in second. These things happen, but this year it’s really often. It’s been a long year so far...”