M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen is battling for the top positions at Rally Australia with just 7.9 seconds separating the leading five drivers going into tomorrow’s penultimate day.
Tackling eight stages in the vicinity of Coffs Harbour, the crews first travelled south for two loops of three technically challenging stages through the region’s award-winning forests before heading back to base for two passes of the spectator-friendly super special.
Having always performed well behind the wheel of a Ford down under, it was business as usual for Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen. The pairing found a good rhythm early on and continued in that same vein throughout the day – regularly posting top-three times.
Feeling at one with the tricky nature of the stages, the Finn is well and truly in the fight for the podium – the number five Ford Fiesta RS WRC just a handful of seconds adrift of the lead in fifth place overall.
Mikko (5th) said:
“It’s really close between the top five at the moment, and that’s great! It’s been a good day for us and we’re right in the battle. Everything has been working well and I’m really happy with the car.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t do anything to keep Sebastian [Ogier] and Jari-Matti [Latvala] behind us, but they’re not so far ahead and hopefully we can have another good day and continue to fight for the podium positions tomorrow.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It’s great to have been in the battle for the lead today. Mikko [Hirvonen] has put in a really strong performance and there remains all to play for as he chases down the top positions tomorrow.