M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans had a somewhat shaky start to their Rally Poland campaign, but the pairing soon found their feet and are beginning to climb the leader board as a result. Hirvonen currently holds seventh place with Evans ninth.
Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen may have been victorious at the event’s 2009 edition, but the Finns struggled to settle into a good rhythm over yesterday’s opening speed tests. Their woes continued into the second day as the M-Sport man lacked confidence in his pacenotes which he admitted were a scale too slow for the quick-paced roads.
His uncharacteristic misjudgement cost him dearly. At such high speeds any hesitation is detrimental and the Finn was forced to play catch up from the start. But determined as ever, the pairing’s experience shone through and they gained two places through a rutted SS6.
With the second pass of Kapciamiestis-Lithuania and Margionys-Lithuania (SS7 and SS8) cancelled due to deteriorating conditions, the duo had just SS9 and SS10 to regain their confidence. Despite lacking the rhythm his rivals had accumulated throughout the course of the morning, the Finn was happier with his performance albeit resolute on making further gains tomorrow.
Mikko Hirvonen (7th) said:
“We were able to improve the pacenotes for this afternoon’s stage [SS9] and in places it was a lot better but I still lost too much time for my liking. There was one corner where I needed to slow down because of the dust and only two or three where I could have been faster so it was a bit strange.
“That’s how it is at the moment and we’re going to go through all of our onboard videos tonight to see if there is anything we can do for tomorrow.”