M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen continued to fight for the top positions during today’s gravel-strewn third day of Rally Sweden. The Finn currently holds fourth place.
Locked in an intense battle for the podium, Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen made the most of the difficult conditions – keeping their Ford Fiesta RS WRC well clear of the white barriers and setting a string of competitive stage times.
With some of the most challenging conditions in the event’s long and prestigious history, Hirvonen rose to the challenge and is looking well placed ahead of tomorrow’s finale and longest leg – 142.16 kilometres of what could be the most arduous tests of the week.
Less than 20 seconds adrift of the podium, the Finn’s vast experience of these specialist stages could yet come into play and he’ll be sure to muster all of his expertise and commitment for the final push.
Mikko (4th) said:
“We lost a bit of time catching Robert [Kubica] on SS12. I think we were very unlucky because he managed to get his car on the road literally right in front of me. We must have lost about seven to ten seconds, but these things happen. He stopped on the side of the road after that so I’m sure that it was the same for everyone – everyone will have needed to slow down a bit.
“There was a lot of gravel on the second pass – the roads were almost completely destroyed. Of course there have been some gravel lines in previous years, but I have never seen such deep ruts like this. It’s not perfect conditions and it’s hard on the tyres, but that is just the way it is.
“There is a bit of a gap to Mads [Østberg] now, but I’m not going to let him get away so easily. Tomorrow will be even more tricky than today, and as we’ve already seen, anything can happen. I’ll be there putting the pressure on him, that’s for sure.”