As Rally Finland got under way with the event’s first four stages, M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen is in contention for the podium places.

When the FIA World Rally Championship ventures to rallying’s spiritual home, an exciting and exhilarating fixture is always expected; and as torrential rain and high-speed winds battered the day’s opening speed tests the 2014 edition looks set to be no different.

Using their experience of the Finnish stages to full effect, Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen made a solid start to their home event – keeping their Fiesta in the fight and remaining on target to battle for the top-positions.

Setting a string of consistent stage times in the slippery conditions, the Finns currently hold fourth place overall. Refusing to let the gap to the leaders deter his enthusiasm, Hirvonen will be on full attack tomorrow as he chases the coveted podium.

Mikko (4th) said:

“The guys up front are going really fast and even when everything was perfect I couldn’t match that through the whole stage. But we are in the fight for the podium and that is where we wanted to be. We just need to go out tomorrow, fight hard, and make sure we do what we came here to do.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“It’s going to be a big fight for the podium tomorrow. I think Sebastien [Ogier] and Jari-Matti [Latvala] are in a fight of their own, but the battle for that final podium place will be an intense one.

“Mikko [Hirvonen] is feeling confident and in a good position for tomorrow when the weather should not play as much of a factor. We all know that he wants to be on the podium here and I have no doubt that he will go out with that goal in mind. »