As the FIA World Rally Championship returned to pure Tarmac for the first time this year, M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans are locked in an intense battle for the final podium positions – holding sixth and seventh places respectively.
Rallye Deutschland never fails to deliver a thrilling event, and with just over 15 seconds separating seventh-placed man Evans from a podium position, this year looks set to be no different.
Consistency was the name of the game for Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen. The two Finns are amongst the most experienced in the championship and they put that to good use as they traversed the twisting vineyard tracks and open country roads of the Rhineland.
Despite an overshoot on the first test of the morning, the pairing were as determined as ever and had the better of their nearest rivals through the trickier speed tests.
With all to play for, Hirvonen’s Ford Fiesta RS WRC should not be discounted for a strong result and he will be keen to climb the leader board as the rally ventures to Baumholder and an encounter with the perilous ‘Hinkelsteins’ tomorrow.
Mikko (6th) said:
“I’m happy with the way things have gone today. If you look at the positions, we’re maybe not exactly where we wanted to be but it is so close out there! It’s great to be in the fight and if we can continue to push tomorrow then I’m sure we can be in the fight for the podium.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It’s great to see Mikko [Hirvonen] with a smile on his face. He’s right in the fight for those final podium positions and he’s clearly relishing it. It’s fantastic to hear that fighting spirit back in his voice.